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Early familiarity has fitness consequences for Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) juveniles

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Familiarity is an important factor reducing aggressiveness among individuals. Because of the reduced energy and time expenditure due to lowered aggression, individuals would be expected to perform better in groups of familiar conspecifics as compared with individuals in groups of strangers. However, few studies have examined potential fitness consequences of familiarity. We created familiar (from tanks where several thousands of unrelated fish had been kept since fertilization) and unfamiliar (by combining fish from several tanks) groups of underyearling Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) and followed their performance for a 21-day period. Familiarity within groups enhanced survival and body condition of the fish. The fish in familiar groups also grew better in weight and in length. Furthermore, familiar fish differed less in length variation after the experimental period compared with fish reared in unfamiliar groups. There was also a tendency towards similar difference in the variation of weight. These results provide direct evidence for beneficial fitness consequences of early familiarity in Arctic char.

La familiarité est un facteur important de réduction de l'agressivité entre les individus. À cause de la diminution des dépenses d'énergie et de temps due au déclin de l'agressivité, les individus devraient fonctionner mieux parmi des groupes conspécifiques familiers que parmi des groupes d'étrangers. Peu d'études ont cependant examiné les conséquences potentielles de la familiarité sur le fitness. Nous avons créé des groupes d'Ombles chevaliers (Salvelinus alpinus) de moins de 1 an, familiers (en gardant depuis leur fécondation des milliers de poissons non apparentés dans des aquariums) et non familiers (en mélangeant des poissons de plusieurs aquariums) et nous avons suivi leur performance pendant 21 jours. La familiarité à l'intérieur du groupe augmentait la survie et la condition des poissons; la croissance en masse et en taille était améliorée. De plus, à la fin de l'expérience, les poissons familiers affichaient moins de variation dans leurs tailles que les poissons non familiers; les variations de masses suivaient la même tendance. Il s'agit donc d'une preuve directe des conséquences bénéfiques sur le fitness d'une familiarité à un âge précoce chez les Ombles chevaliers.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2001

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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