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Effects of feeding conditions and size differences on aggressive behaviour and cannibalism in the Pacific bluefin tuna Thunnus orientalis (Temminck and Schlegel) larvae

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Abstract

We examined the effects of feeding conditions and size differences on the aggressive behaviour and cannibalism in Pacific bluefin tuna (PBT) Thunnus orientalis larvae. In a 24 h experiment, restricted feeding alone was found to remarkably increase the frequency of aggressive behaviour, which was further elevated by differences in fish size. In a 4-day rearing experiment, while aggressive behaviour was increased by restricted feeding alone, the frequency of cannibalism did not change significantly. Although the frequency of aggressive behaviour did not increase with difference in size factor, small fish in this group gradually tended to die over 4-day period. In the restricted feeding and size difference group, large fish were observed to bite the small fish, and almost all the small fish died on the day after the start of the experiment. These results suggest that the aggressive behaviour of PBT larvae is chiefly increased by the shortage of live food; however, deaths related to cannibalism mainly occurred in small larvae and rapidly increased with food restriction and differences in fish size.

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