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Maximum sustainable speed, energetics and swimming kinematics of a tropical carangid fish, the green jack Caranx caballus

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Maximum sustained swimming speeds, swimming energetics and swimming kinematics were measured in the green jack Caranx caballus (Teleostei: Carangidae) using a 41 l temperature‐controlled, Brett‐type swimming‐tunnel respirometer. In individual C. caballus [mean ±s.d. of 22·1 ± 2·2 cm fork length (L F), 190 ± 61 g, n = 11] at 27·2 ± 0·7° C, mean critical speed (U crit) was 102·5 ± 13·7 cm s−1 or 4·6 ± 0·9 L F s−1. The maximum speed that was maintained for a 30 min period while swimming steadily using the slow, oxidative locomotor muscle (U max,c) was 99·4 ± 14·4 cm s−1 or 4·5 ± 0·9 L F s−1. Oxygen consumption rate (M in mg O2 min−1) increased with swimming speed and with fish mass, but mass‐specific M (mg O2 kg−1 h−1) as a function of relative speed (L F s−1) did not vary significantly with fish size. Mean standard metabolic rate (R S) was 170 ± 38 mg O2 kg−1 h−1, and the mean ratio of M at U max,c to R S, an estimate of factorial aerobic scope, was 3·6 ± 1·0. The optimal speed (U opt), at which the gross cost of transport was a minimum of 2·14 J kg−1 m−1, was 3·8 L F s−1. In a subset of the fish studied (19·7–22·7 cm L F, 106–164 g, n = 5), the swimming kinematic variables of tailbeat frequency, yaw and stride length all increased significantly with swimming speed but not fish size, whereas tailbeat amplitude varied significantly with speed, fish mass and L F. The mean propulsive wavelength was 86·7 ± 5·6 %L F or 73·7 ± 5·2 %L T. Mean ±s.d. yaw and tailbeat amplitude values, calculated from lateral displacement of each intervertebral joint during a complete tailbeat cycle in three C. caballus (19·7, 21·6 and 22·7 cm L F; 23·4, 25·3 and 26·4 cm L T), were 4·6 ± 0·1 and 17·1 ± 2·2 %L T, respectively. Overall, the sustained swimming performance, energetics, kinematics, lateral displacement and intervertebral bending angles measured in C. caballus were similar to those of other active ectothermic fishes that have been studied, and C. caballus was more similar to the chub mackerel Scomber japonicus than to the kawakawa tuna Euthynnus affinis.
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Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: 01 June 2012

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