Intraspecific variation in competitive ability and food intake in salmonids: consequences for energy budgets and growth rates



The interactions between dominance status, feeding rate and growth in rainbow trout, Salmo gairdneri Richardson, were analyzed using published data on experimental populations. There was a positive correlation between metabolic expenditure and food intake in both dominant and subordinate fish, but dominants obtained a greater intake for a given expenditure than did subordinates. Subordinates that adopted a high–return/high–cost foraging strategy actually expended more energy than they acquired, whereas those that minimized energy expenditure obtained a net energy gain. This led to the surprising finding that the growth rate of subordinates was negatively correlated with food intake.