• amino acids;
  • cortisol;
  • density;
  • glucose;
  • Senegalese sole;
  • stress response


Fish held at high stocking densities are generally exposed to chronic stress situations that impose severe energy demands and may predispose the fish to infection. Senegalese sole Solea senegalensis (Kaup) juveniles (78.8±18.9 g body weight) were maintained at low (LSD; 4 kg m−2 at the end of the experiment), medium (MSD; 9 kg m−2) and high (HSD; 14 kg m−2) stocking densities during a period of 63 days. Although disease outbreaks were observed in fish reared at HSD, growth and food consumption did not vary among different treatments. Results from plasma cortisol and free amino acids (FAAs) showed significant differences among different rearing densities pointing to HSD as stressful rearing condition. However, higher plasma glucose and osmolality levels indicated that fish held at MSD may also be under stress. The higher usage of FAAs from the HSD group may be due to the higher demand for energy production in order to cope with stressful rearing conditions, higher rate of protein synthesis or due to synthesis of other important metabolites related to stress response. Therefore, results from the present study point out to HSD as a stressful rearing condition and suggest that crowding stress may affect amino acid requirements.