Is a cannibal different from its conspecifics? A behavioural, morphological, muscular and retinal structure study with pikeperch juveniles under farming conditions
Cannibalism is defined as the act of killing and consuming the whole, or major part, of an individual belonging to the same species, irrespective of its stage of development. Intra-cohort cannibalism in fish larval or juvenile stages, which is a major economic problem, has been widely studied in captive fish populations. In our study, we investigated the influence of animal personality (with cross-maze and conspecific choice tests) on intra-cohort cannibalism using pikeperch Sander lucioperca as a model species. Furthermore, we investigated the morphological (geometric morphological analysis) and anatomical (histological analysis of retinal and muscle tissue sections) differences between cannibal (C) fish (TL = 34.6 ± 9.4 mm, n = 25) and conspecific fish randomly sampled from rearing tanks, herein called ‘potential non-cannibal fish’ (PNC) (TL = 31.4 ± 10.5 mm, n = 42). We did not find any behavioural differences (swimming activity, exploration, conspecific choice) between cannibal and potential non-cannibal fish that could explain asynchrony in the onset of cannibalism. Moreover, we did not observe any morphological differences between the two groups (C and PNC fish). However, we did detect anatomical differences in two retinal layers (ganglion cell layer and inner nuclear layer) that were thicker for cannibals. These two layers are involved in the collection of information by photoreceptors and allow the shapes, colours and movements of objects to be detected in the water column. The onset of cannibalism therefore appears to be linked to environmental condition-dependent individual development, with some individuals exhibiting precocious anatomical, and probably physiological, development, rather than to individual personality.
637 - Productes dels animals domèstics, de la caça i de la pesca
Is part of
Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Colchen, T, E Gisbert, Y Ledoré, F Teletchea, P Fontaine, and A Pasquet. 2020. "Is A Cannibal Different From Its Conspecifics? A Behavioural, Morphological, Muscular And Retinal Structure Study With Pikeperch Juveniles Under Farming Conditions". Applied Animal Behaviour Science 224: 104947. doi:10.1016/j.applanim.2020.104947.
Grant agreement number
EC/FP7/603121/EU/Exploring the biological and socio-economic potential of new-emerging candidate fish species for the expansion of the European aquaculture industry/DIVERSIFY
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- ARTICLES CIENTÍFICS 
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