Genetic selection for body size during domestication of animal species can inadvertently affect a number of physiological and behavioural traits. The pace-of-life syndrome (POLS) hypothesis predicts that domestication in an artificial environment lacking predators and providing abundant resources prefers proactive individuals with strong feeding motivation, high levels of aggression and risk taking, with low hypothalamus–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis responsiveness. In the present experiment we weaned fingerling pike-perch from live feed and habituated them to formulated feed. We recorded the number of weeks needed for the fish to accept pellets, their body length at the age of 100 days, their boldness in a novel object test and their HPI axis responsiveness. Individuals accepting the artificial feed within the first week grew larger than fish habituating later; therefore early weaners would be kept and bred in routine aquaculture procedures. Contrary to predictions of POLS hypothesis, fish weaning earlier and thus growing faster were less bold and had higher HPI axis responsiveness than fish accepting the pellets later or never. As live feed is preferred to artificial pellets, less competitive individuals may switch to pellets earlier. Inadvertent selection for stress sensitive fish may have an effect on production in aquaculture as well as on natural population after intensive restocking.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)