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Otolith increment width responses of juvenile Australian smelt Retropinna semoni to sudden changes in food levels: the importance of feeding history

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To aid the interpretation of otolith microstructure in wild fishes, the present study assessed responses in daily otolith increment widths of early juvenile Australian smelt Retropinna semoni to sudden changes in feeding conditions. There was an almost immediate response in otolith increment widths (which can be interpreted as growth in length) to sudden changes in feeding conditions, with such changes being detected statistically after c. 4 days. Fish displayed compensatory growth when food supplies were increased following a period of limited food, indicating the magnitude of the response in growth appears highly dependant on feeding history. Additionally, fish size also appeared to influence increment widths suggesting that both fish size and feeding history are important factors that must be considered when interpreting otolith microstructure for the species.
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Keywords: compensatory growth; freshwater fish; otolith growth

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Freshwater Ecology, Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Sustainability and Environment, P. O. Box 137, Heidelberg, Victoria 3084, Australia

Publication date: 2008-09-01

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