Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 2, Issue 1–4, pp 35–51 | Cite as

Photoperiodic mechanisms and rhythms of reproduction in the female rainbow trout

  • James Duston
  • Niall Bromage


The present work investigates the importance of circadian and circannual rhythms in the photoperiodic control of reproduction in the rainbow trout. Maintenance of groups of 20–30 female trout under continuous light (LL), constant long (18L:6D) or short (6L:18D) days and conditions of constant temperature (8.5–9.0°C) and feeding rates (0.5% body weight, day−1), starting in February, produced markedly different spawning periodicities during the first and subsequent years of treatment. At the end of the first year, spawning was advanced by up to 2 months in the fish under LL and 18L:6D and delayed by up to 5 months in those under 6L:18D when compared with the December spawning of control fish under ambient light. Continued exposure of the fish to the same photoperiod regimes produced cycles of spawning and peak levels of testosterone, oestradiol-17β and calcium (as an index of vitellogenin) at intervals of 150–170 days under LL and 18L:6D and 320–420 days under 6L:18D. The functional importance of these spawning cycles and their relationship to circannual rhythms and the control of reproduction is discussed.

Exposure of fish to skeleton (6L:4D:2L:12D, 6L:6D:2L:10D and 6L:8D:2L:8D) and resonance (6L:42D, 6L:48D and 6L:54D) procedures produced ranges of spawning times up to two months in advance of control fish. Results with the resonance regimes, where fish received only a half the light-dark cycles and a quarter of the total daylight hours of those on ambient light cycles show that trout do not measure daylength and time by counting daily cycles or by hour-glass mechanisms. Collectively, these data support the proposition that rhythmic processes of photosensitivity are involved in the modulation of reproductive development in the rainbow trout and that circadian and circannual rhythms cooperate in the timing and entrainment of this cycle.


daylength trout reproduction circannual rhythms resonance skeleton photoperiod endocrine 


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Copyright information

© Kugler Publications bv 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Duston
    • 1
  • Niall Bromage
    • 1
  1. 1.Fish Culture, Department of Molecular SciencesAston UniversityBirminghamUK

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