Fish May Use Different Behaviours to Protect Against Parasites

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By Milthon Lujan

Australia.- New research indicates that fish may adapt their behaviour to defend against parasite infection. The findings are published in the Journal of Zoology.

When investigators studied Atlantic salmon, clear differences in parasite load existed between behaviourally-modified fish and those able to exhibit the normal repertoire of behaviours. Normal salmon displayed greater frequencies of surface behaviours (jumping and rolling) and less swimming activity compared with behaviourally-impaired individuals.

“This is exciting, as it shows that a farmed fish has the ability to avoid parasites. Currently, behaviour isn’t something that is considered in aquaculture, so it opens the door to alternative methods of parasite prevention,’” said Dr. Samantha Bui, lead author of the study.

Bui, S., Oppedal, F., Samsing, F. and Dempster, T. (2017), Behaviour in Atlantic salmon confers protection against an ectoparasite. J Zool. doi:10.1111/jzo.12498

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