Who eats whom, when and why? Juvenile cannibalism in fish Asian seabass
Date of Issue2017
School of Biological Sciences
While juvenile cannibalism plays an important role in the evolution of organisms in natural populations, it is a serious problem in aquaculture. A number of genetic and environmental factors result in different rates of cannibalism. Whether there is kin recognition in juvenile cannibalism in fish is poorly understood. We studied cannibalism and kinship recognition in juveniles of Asian seabass using molecular parentage analysis with polymorphic microsatellites. In the three mass crosses, under an ordinary feeding scheme without size grading, the rate of juvenile loss due to cannibalism was 1.08% per day. In the group without feeding for 24 h, 2.30% ± 0.43% of offspring per day were lost within 24 h due to cannibalism. We detected that juveniles avoided cannibalizing their siblings when they were not hungry, whereas cannibalism among siblings increased when they were hungry. These data suggest that there is kin discrimination in fish cannibalism. Raising genetically closely related offspring in the same tanks and appropriate levels of feeding may reduce the rate of cannibalism. We hypothesized that the chemical cues for kin discrimination might be secreted by fish skins. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed gene expression profiles in the skins of juveniles under slightly and very hungry conditions using RNA sequencing and bioinformatics analysis. Genes differently expressed under slightly and very hungry conditions were identified. Among them, genes from the trypsin family were significantly down-regulated under starved conditions, suggesting that they may play a role in kin discrimination.
Aquaculture and Fisheries
© 2017 Shanghai Ocean University. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0).