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Individual growth trajectories of sibling Brycon moorei raised in isolation since egg stage, and their relationship with aggressive behaviour

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The growth of sibling dorada Brycon moorei (Characidae) housed individually in small enclosures (0·25 l; 27·0° C, range ±0·5° C; 12L:12D) from the egg stage was examined at regular intervals until 36 days after hatching (dah) and compared with their behaviour. From 1 to 8 dah, when cannibalism is intense among B. moorei raised in groups, there was no significant increase of size heterogeneity among isolated fish (c.v. of total length of 3·1 and 3·6%, at 1 and 8 dah, respectively) and no primacy of early size differences either. These results suggest that cannibals of B. moorei raised in groups are not natural-born killers with greater growth capacities than others. Size heterogeneity among isolated fish increased significantly first when B. moorei were weaned on formulated feed (8–15 dah), then again from 24 to 36 dah when the average growth rate was half as fast as before (c. 0·5 v. 1·0 mm day−1), despite fish consistently feeding. During both periods, there was a significant, positive relationship between individual growth and aggression or boldness. These results suggest that (1) boldness can favour the transition to a new food type and (2) fish exhibited a variable responsiveness to spatial restriction in small enclosures, which may have been alleviated in some individuals by establishment of territorial behaviour, as suggested by their enhanced aggression.
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Keywords: Characidae; aggression; growth; individual variation; spatial restriction

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: School of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Durham University, Science Laboratories, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, U.K.

Publication date: 01 September 2010

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