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The onset of piscivory in a freshwater fish species: analysis of behavioural and physiological traits

Abstract : The onset of piscivory in fish, resulting in a shift from zooplankton or invertebrate to fish prey, was studied on pikeperch (Sander lucioperca) larvae displaying and not displaying piscivorous behaviour at different ages (23, 30, 37, 44 and 52 days post-hatching) using behavioural (attack, capture and swimming activity), morphological (allometry) and digestive enzymatic (trypsin, α-amylase and pepsin) analyses. The shift from zooplanktonic food items (Artemia nauplii) to a piscivorous diet did not occur at the same time for all individuals within the same cohort. Predation tests, conducted under controlled conditions (20 C; ad libitum feeding), showed that some larvae attacked fish prey as early as the age of 3 weeks [11.0 ± 1.3 mm total length (TL)], whereas others did not start until the age of 6 weeks (16.6 ± 1.9 mm TL). Piscivorous individuals were bigger, with larger heads, longer tails, higher acid protease and lower alkaline protease activities, than non-piscivorous conspecifics. In conclusion, high interindividual variability in morphological and digestive system developments linked to the development of predatory abilities could induce cannibalism in fish.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, July 22, 2020 - 2:00:18 PM
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T. Colchen, A. Dias, E. Gisbert, F. Teletchea, P. Fontaine, et al.. The onset of piscivory in a freshwater fish species: analysis of behavioural and physiological traits. Journal of Fish Biology, In press, 96 (6), pp.1463-1474. ⟨10.1111/jfb.14322⟩. ⟨hal-02903405⟩



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