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Triploidy alters brain morphology in pre-smolt Atlantic salmon Salmo salar: possible implications for behaviour


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Total brain mass and the volumes of five specific brain regions in diploid and triploid Atlantic salmon Salmo salar pre-smolts were measured using digital images. There were no significant differences (P > 0·05) in total brain mass when corrected for fork length, or the volumes of the optic tecta or hypothalamus when corrected for brain mass, between diploids and triploids. There was a significant effect (P < 0·01) of ploidy on the volume of the olfactory bulb, with it being 9·0% larger in diploids compared with triploids. The cerebellum and telencephalon, however, were significantly larger, 17 and 8% respectively, in triploids compared with diploids. Sex had no significant effect (P > 0·05) on total brain mass or the volumes of any measured brain region. As the olfactory bulbs, cerebellum and telencephalon are implicated in a number of functions, including foraging ability, aggression and spatial cognition, these results may explain some of the behavioural differences previously reported between diploids and triploids.

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