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Behavioural responses of hatchery-reared and wild cod Gadus morhua to mechano-acoustic predator signals

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The behavioural responses of wild (predator-experienced) and hatchery-reared (predator-naive) cod Gadus morhua to standardized mechano-acoustic (MA) stimuli were compared in the laboratory. Wild fish responded mainly with freezing and fast-start escapes away from the stimulus, whereas hatchery-reared fish often ignored or approached the stimulus. Wild fish also had stronger responses, turning faster during escapes and reducing activity immediately after the stimulus. Both fish types were less active on a ‘risky’ bare substratum after the stimulus. The antipredator responses of wild fish were consistent to repeated stimuli, whereas hatchery-reared fish that had generally only encountered harmless stimuli showed more variable responses with lower repeatability. This suggests that experience plays a role in shaping the behavioural response of fishes to MA stimuli.

Keywords: escape responses; farmed; learning; predator defences; restocking; sensory

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: CNR-IAMC Loc. Sa Mardini, Torregrande 09072, Oristano, Italy 2: Department of Biology, University of Bergen, P. O. Box 7800, Bergen N-5020, Norway

Publication date: 2011-05-01

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