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Heredity (Edinb). 2004 Feb;92(2):53-60.

Kin-biased distribution in brown trout: an effect of redd location or kin recognition?

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  • 1Danish Institute for Fisheries Research, Department of Inland Fisheries, Vejlsøvej 39, DK-8600 Silkeborg, Denmark.


A wide range of animals have been reported to show kin-biased behaviours, such as reduced aggressiveness and increased food sharing among relatives. However, less is known about whether wild animals also associate with relatives under natural conditions, which is a prerequisite to facilitate kin-biased behaviours and hence kin selection. We tested, by means of microsatellite polymorphism, correlations between pair-wise relatedness and pair-wise metric distance in wild brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) under natural conditions in two streams. Our data show that young-of-the-year as well as older trout found close together also had a higher genetic relatedness in one of the two streams, whereas no relationship was found in the other stream. Very few half and full siblings were found in the second stream and under these conditions it is unlikely that kin-biased behaviours will receive positive selection. We discuss the underlying mechanisms for the observed structure and we specifically address the issue of whether the grouping of related individuals could reflect dispersal from the same spawning redds, or if it reflects active association with relatives, possibly conferring kin-selected advantages.

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