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Effects of river red gum, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, litter on golden perch, Macquaria ambigua


  • P. C. Gehrke,

    1. NSW Fisheries, Inland Fisheries Research Station, PO Box 182, Narrandera, New South Wales 2700, Australia
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  • M. B. Revell,

    1. Faculty of Science and Applied Technology, Deakin University, Warrnambool, PO Box 423, Warrnambool, Victoria 3280, Australia
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  • A. W. Philbey

    1. NSW Agriculture, Regional Veterinary Laboratory, Private Bag, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales 2650, Australia
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    • §

      Leucemia Research Fund Virus Centre, Department of Veterinary Pathology, University of Glasgow Veterinary School, Bearsden Road, Bearsden, Glasgow G61 1QH, Scotland.


Aquaria with added river red gum, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, litter became hypoxic, with decreased pH and contained up to 30 mg 1−1 tannin and lignin. Survival of golden perch, Macquaria ambigua, larvae in aquaria treated with a simulated annual litter density of 450 g m−2 for 72 h was 14·9% for 15-day-old larvae and 0% for 8-day-old larvae. A litter density of 1223 g m−2 resulted in total mortality for both age groups of larvae. Aeration increased survival of larvae to a minimum of 68·8% in 1223 g m−2 litter treatments compared to 89·8% in aerated controls and 86·8% in non-aerated controls. A kinetic behavioural assay was used to detect alarm responses in golden perch larvae and juveniles exposed to leachates from river red gum bark, leaves and wood. Eight-day-old larvae exposed to bark and wood leachates (0·001–10 g 1−1) exhibited an initial period of hyperactivity, followed by a concentration-dependent decrease in spontaneous activity. Larvae exposed to leaf leachates displayed only a decrease in spontaneous activity. Four-month-old juveniles exposed to wood leachates were also initially hyperactive, then progressively developed mild hypoactivity at increasing leachate concentrations. Juveniles exposed to wood leachates at 20g 1−1 for 30min suffered 97·5% mortality in 96 h. Wood leachates induced dose-dependent lamellar fusion, epithelial dissociation and necrosis in the gills. The presence of toxic leachates and low oxygen availability in flooded river red gum forests may make these habitats unsuitable as nursery areas for native fish.

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