Innate and enhanced predator recognition in hatchery-reared chinook salmon
- Cite this article as:
- Berejikian, B.A., Tezak, E.P. & LaRae, A.L. Environmental Biology of Fishes (2003) 67: 241. doi:10.1023/A:1025887015436
We used a laboratory behaviour assay to investigate how innate predator recognition, handling stress, retention time, and number of conditioning events might affect chemically mediated anti-predator conditioning for hatchery-reared chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha. Juvenile chinook salmon with no prior exposure to predatory stimuli exhibited innate fright responses to northern pikeminnow, Ptychocheilis oregonensis, odour, regardless of whether the salmon came from a population that exists in sympatry or allopatry with northern pikeminnows. Juvenile chinook salmon exhibited enhanced predator recognition following a single conditioning event with conspecific extract and northern pikeminnow odour. Handling similar to what hatchery salmon might experience prior to release did not substantially reduce the conditioned response. When we conditioned juvenile chinook salmon in hatchery rearing vessels, fish from tanks treated once exhibited a conditioned response to northern pikeminnow odour in aquaria, but only for one behaviour (feeding response), and fish treated twice did not respond. The results suggest that enhanced recognition of predator stimuli occurs quickly, but may be to some extent context-specific, which may limit conditioned fright responses after release into the natural environment.