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Establishment of dominance relationships in gilthead sea bream Sparus aurata juveniles during feeding: effects on feeding behaviour, feed utilization and fish health

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In gilthead sea bream Sparus aurata held in groups of two, five or 10 fish, social hierarchies were observed. Subordinate S. aurata were characterized by elevation of basal levels of plasma cortisol, together with a reduced immunological potential. Subordinate fish also showed lower feed intake, feed utilization and lower growth. Fatty acid composition was also affected by social status, with a lower content of saturated acids, oleic and eicosapentaenoic, in muscle and liver of fish considered as subordinate. Results show that social hierarchy acts as a stressor in S.aurata.

Keywords: chronic stress; feed intake; social hierarchy

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: Grupo de Investigación en Acuicultura, ICCM-IUSA, P. O. Box 56, 35200 Telde, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain

Publication date: March 1, 2009


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