In various experiments under self-feeding conditions, sea bass groups could be divided into three categories regarding feeder actuation: high, low and zero-triggering fish. In all cases few high-triggering fish were responsible for a high percentage of the feed delivery. A question was raised about the role played by feeding motivation in such high-triggering status acquisition. It was approached by applying a 3-week fasting period in order to induce similar negative specific growth rate (SGR) in two groups of fish of similar mean weight but with either a low or a high coefficient of variation for weight (CVw) (Tlow: CVw∼11%, 3 tanks of 60 fish each; Thigh: CVw∼20%, 3 tanks of 60 fish each). These groups were created to test the consistency of behavioural responses in two different contexts (i.e. two population size-distributions). During the follow-up period of 40 days, the group level feed-demand behaviour was not strongly modified by the fasting period and there were no differences between Tlow and Thigh groups. Complete growth compensation was the same in all tanks as observed at the end of the experiment. At the individual level, high-triggering fish were exactly the same individuals before and after the fasting period. Up to four high-triggering fish could be observed according to the tank and when several fish were performing high-triggering activity, their rankings were sometimes reversed after the fasting period. High-triggering fish increased their activity levels after the fasting period showing behavioural plasticity. High-triggering status could neither be explained by an initial lower SGR nor a sex effect, nor by any of the measured physiological blood parameters. Thus, individual's triggering activity levels could be related to personality and/or metabolic traits but further research is required to confirm this assumption.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
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