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The use of chemical cues in the upstream migration of coho salmon, Oncorhynchus kisutch Walbaum

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Abstract

The migratory behaviour of coho salmon was studied in the field. Coho salmon, Oncorhynchus kisutch, exposed to synthetic odours in a hatchery and released into Lake Michigan as juveniles, were recaptured as migrating adults 18 months later. The movements of 43 individuals were followed in experiments examining the role of imprinted chemical cues in the homing migration. Movements in relation to controlled distributions of the imprinting odours revealed that chemical cues are used by the salmon in their upstream migration. Acting with the rheotactic response, fish were guided upstream by imprinting odours simulating their home stream. Coho salmon, in the absence of their imprinting odour, respond negatively to the current. Differential responses to current appear to serve in segregating fish imprinted to odours of different home streams.

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