TitleDuration of Appetite Inhibition Predicts Social Dominance in Nile Tilapia, Oreochromis Niloticus L.
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsCruz, EMVera, Valdez, MB, Bolivar, RB, Borski, RJ
EditorLiu, L, Fitzsimmons, K
Conference NameBetter Science, Better Fish, Better Life Proceedings of the Ninth International Symposium on Tilapia in Aquaculture (ISTA 9)
Pagination86 - 94
Date Published2011
Conference LocationShanghai, China
Keywordsappetite inhibition, behavioral stress response, Growth, Oreochromis niloticus, social dominance, social interaction

This study investigated whether the result of contest for social dominance among individuals in Oreochromis niloticus can be predicted by assessing the duration of appetite inhibition (DAI) during the isolation period. Fifty all-male juvenile O. niloticus of similar size were isolated for 10 days and were used in a social pair study. The DAI of each fish was observed when fish was transferred to the isolation unit. Body weight of dominant and subordinate individuals was recorded before and after the encounter. Eye color pattern (ECP) was also observed during the social encounter. The study revealed that tilapia with shorter DAI during the isolation had a greater possibility to win the fight for social dominance. Formation of stable dominant-subordinate relationship was observed in 24 of the 25 tested pairs. A total of seventeen fishes (70.93%) out of the 24 fishes that became dominant have shorter DAI compared to that of their conspecifics (Binomial test, P = 0.03). This indicates that social dominance can be predicted using the DAI of the fish during isolation. Reduced growth rate of both dominant and subordinate fish and a well-described physiological end result of social stress were observed one day after the social interaction. The significantly greater weight loss ( P < 0.01) in subordinate fish (2.88 ± 0.21 g) compared to dominant fish (2.11 ± 0.19 g) a day after the establishment of social hierarchy was mainly attributed to behavioral differences such as appetite rather than to differences in physical activities. Death, which is the most overwhelming effect of stress, was observed in the subordinate individuals. All subordinate fish died within a week after the social interaction.

Notice of Publication Number

NOP 11-286 (English)