A. Csuvar a, I. Benedek a, I. Lehoczky ab, M. Molnar b, B. Bano a, T. Molnar a*
a Institute of Environmental Science and Nature Protection, Kaposvár University, H-7400 Kaposvár, Guba S. str. 40., Hungary
b Research Centre for Farm Animal Gene Conservation, H-2100 Gödöllő, Isaszegi str. 200 Hungary
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Habituation to pellet consumption could induce not only behavioural but several physiological changes as well (e.g. modified quantity of tasting receptors or inaccurate prey identification (Hutchinson et al 2007)). These alterations have fitness consequences after introduction to natural water bodies. Personality has important role in the adaptation to new conditions. Colchen et al (2017) demonstrated that pikeperch juveniles responded in the same way to exploration and dyadic test but their responses were opposite in the restraint test. Molnár et al (under publication) suggested that weaning to formulated feed results the selection of stress sensitive individuals to production. Changes in exploration and stress level could result different survival under natural conditions. However, Blecha et al (2016) demonstrated that the intensively reared pikeperch could be reintroduced to controlled pond conditions (prey fish provided), showing a moderate 62.5% survival. The aim of our investigation was to examine the correlation between live prey foraging and exploration behaviour of pikeperch fingerlings.

Material and methods

Pond reared pikeperch fingerlings were obtained from the Attala Fish farm (BoFa Ltd. Attala, Hungary). At the age of 35 days juveniles were transported to the Fish Laboratory of the Kaposvár University and weaned to formulated food with gradual transition using Tubifex (according to Bódis et al 2007). Live prey feeding tests were performed by the method described by Turreson and Brönmark (2004). The measured parameters were be the followings: success of foraging, time between the entering of prey and start of foraging (latency), total number of attacks on the prey, ratio of the successful and total attacks. Rosy Barb was used as prey fish and five consecutive foraging were recorded. Exploration behaviour was tested by novel object test. Number of approaches to the novel object, closest distance from the object and latency of the closest approach were estimated. PCA analysis was performed on the three parameters and the individual factor score was used as indicator of exploration behaviour. The relationship between the exploration score and the live prey foraging parameters was estimated by Pearson correlation. All statistical procedures were carried out in SPSS 11.5.0.


Success of foraging was low; average 23.3 % was the successful foraging in the whole experiment. However, the exploration showed significant correlation with the live prey predation. In case of latency (the reaction time after recognition the prey) the exploring individuals performed shorter period and significant (p=0.001) negative (r=-0.797) correlation was found between the two factors. The total number of attacks on live prey was higher by the explorative individuals resulting a positive r=0.835 (p=0.001) correlation. However, the ratio of successful attacks was also significantly correlated with the exploration (p=0.023) but it was not as close as the other parameters (r=0.378). Figure shows the relationship between the three live prey foraging parameters and the exploration level.

Discussion and conclusions

Sneddon 2003 found that in hatchery-reared rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) the learning ability was better in bold fish as it spend more time in an open area and swim more actively. Colchen et al (2017) had similar result in pikeperch as bold fish was more active demonstrating that "personality" could be detected in the young age class. Our results confirm this tendency, that explorative individuals are more active and the learning ability to prey on live fish is better in this personality type. However, the strength of the correlation shows that successful foraging is influenced by more factors.


Miroslav, B., Jiri, K., & Tomas, P. (2016). Adaptation of Intensively Reared Pikeperch (Sander Lucioperca) Juveniles to Pond Culture and Subsequent Re-Adaptation to a Recirculation Aquaculture System. Turkish Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 16, 15-18.

Bódis, M., Kucska, B., Bercsényi, M. (2007). The effect of different diets on the growth and mortality of juvenile pikeperch (Sander lucioperca) in the transition from live food to formulated feed. Aquaculture International, 15(1), 83-90.

Colchen T., Faux E., Teletchea F., Pasquet A. (2017). Is personality of young fish consistent through different behavioural tests? Journal of Applied Animal Behaviour In Press

Hutchison, M., Butcher, A., Norris, A., Kirkwood, J., Chilcott, K. (2007). A review of domestication effects on stocked fishes, strategies to improve post stocking survival of fishes and their potential application to threatened fish species recovery programs in the Murray-Darling Basin. Report to the Murray-Darling Basin Commission 30p.

Sneddon, L. U. (2003). The bold and the shy: individual differences in rainbow trout. Journal of Fish Biology, 62(4), 971-975.

Turesson H., Brönmark C. (2004). Foraging behaviour and capture success in perch, pikeperch and pike and the effects of prey density. Journal of Fish Biology. 65: 363-375.


This work was supported by the National Research, Development and Innovation Office (Hungary) (OTKA K112070).