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Aquat Toxicol. 2002 Oct 30;60(3-4):185-201.

Effects of husbandry practices, gender, and normal physiological variation on growth and reproduction of Japanese medaka, Oryzias latipes.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, One Shields Ave, Davis, CA 95616, USA. cbdavis@ucdavis.edu


Japanese medaka, Oryzias latipes, are currently used in a variety of research applications for toxicological and carcinogenesis research, yet the impact of certain husbandry factors on study outcome has received limited attention. In this study, we demonstrated significant effects of stocking density (SD), dietary restriction (DR) and photoperiod on somatic growth in medaka. Higher stocking densities significantly inhibited somatic and hepatic growth in females, while having no similar effects on males. Daily egg production declined in a step-wise manner in groups of fish stocked at densities ranging from 0.38 to 2.6 fish per l. Significantly slower somatic growth was observed in fish fed on a mildly restrictive dietary protocol compared with those fish fed to excess. Further significant declines were observed in somatic growth of fish fed at a rate comparable to that used in research studies (3-4% body weight (BW) per day). Fish reared at an 8-h light:16-h dark (8L/16D) photoperiod were significantly smaller than cohorts reared at a 16-h light:8-h dark (16L/8D) photoperiod and female sexual maturity was delayed in the short photoperiod cohort. In normal female medaka, a high degree of individual variation was observed in daily egg production, as well as diurnal fluctuations in ovarian weight, gonadosomatic index (GSI) and hepatosomatic index (HSI). These results indicate some husbandry factors affect growth, sexual maturation and egg production in medaka and should be taken into consideration in studies evaluating endpoints that may be impacted by growth and reproductive performance, i.e. carcinogenesis and endocrine disruption studies. The high degree of individual variation among normal females and daily fluctuations in organ weights should also be considered in study design.

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