Surface feeding and aggressive behaviour of diploid and triploid brown trout Salmo trutta during allopatric pair-wise matchings

Authors

  • A. C. Preston,

    Corresponding author
    1. Reproduction and Genetics Group, School of Natural Sciences, Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Scotland, U.K
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  • J. F. Taylor,

    1. Reproduction and Genetics Group, School of Natural Sciences, Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Scotland, U.K
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  • C. E. Adams,

    1. Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment, Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Loch Lomond, Rowardennan, Glasgow G63 0AW, Scotland, U.K.
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  • H. Migaud

    1. Reproduction and Genetics Group, School of Natural Sciences, Institute of Aquaculture, University of Stirling, Scotland, U.K
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Abstract

Diploid and triploid brown trout Salmo trutta were acclimated for 6 weeks on two feeding regimes (floating and sinking). Thereafter, aggression and surface feeding response were compared between pairs of all diploid, all triploid and diploid and triploid S. trutta in an experimental stream. In each pair-wise matching, fish of similar size were placed in allopatry and rank was determined by the total number of aggressive interactions recorded. Dominant individuals initiated more aggression than subordinates, spent more time defending a territory and positioned themselves closer to the surface food source (Gammarus pulex), whereas subordinates occupied the peripheries. In cross ploidy trials, diploid S. trutta were more aggressive than triploid, and dominated their sibling when placed in pair-wise matchings. Surface feeding, however, did not differ statistically between ploidy irrespective of feeding regime. Triploids adopted a sneak feeding strategy while diploids expended more time defending a territory. In addition, we also tested whether triploids exhibit a similar social dominance to diploids when placed in allopatry. Although aggression was lower in triploid pairs than in the diploid and triploid pairs, a dominance hierarchy was also observed between individuals of the same ploidy. Dominant triploid fish were more aggressive and consumed more feed items than subordinate individuals. Subordinate fish displayed a darker colour index than dominant fish suggesting increased stress levels. Dominant triploid fish, however, appeared to be more tolerant of subordinate individuals and did not display the same degree of invasive aggression as seen in the diploid and diploid or diploid and triploid matchings. These novel findings suggest that sterile triploid S. trutta feed similarly but are less aggressive than diploid trout. Future studies should determine the habitat choice of triploid S. trutta after release and the interaction between wild fish and triploids during the breeding season prior to utilization of triploids as an alternative management strategy within freshwater fisheries.

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