Send to

Choose Destination
Anim Behav. 2001 Jan;61(1):249-255.

Experience and social environment influence the ability of young brown trout to forage on live novel prey.

Author information

Department of Zoology/Animal Ecology, Göteborg University


Efficient feeding is crucial for the growth, survival and reproductive success of most animals. In artificial-rearing environments, however, animals are deprived of many stimuli normally experienced in the wild, which may alter feeding behaviour, and thus influence their survival and reproductive success upon release in nature. In a laboratory experiment, we investigated the effect of hatchery rearing on the ability of brown trout, Salmo trutta, to capture and consume a novel live prey item. Hatchery-reared and wild-caught trout, originating from the same river, were fed single black crickets, either in isolation or in visual and olfactory contact with another hatchery-reared or wild-caught fish. Total consumption, time to first bite and feeding efficiency were monitored. Wild-caught trout ate more, were quicker to attack, and consumed attacked prey more efficiently than hatchery-reared fish. Food consumption and efficiency increased in both wild and hatchery-reared trout during the experiment. We propose that the differences in feeding ability between wild-caught and hatchery-reared brown trout were mainly due to differences in previous experience of feeding on live prey. Wild-caught trout tended to eat more and sooner when in visual contact with another fish than when in isolation. This trend was not seen for the hatchery-reared fish, which may be due to environmental differences between the hatchery and the natural stream. The initial inability of hatchery-reared fish to forage on live prey may reduce their success when released in the wild, especially when in competition with resident wild fish.


Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center