Hydrobiologia

, Volume 371, Issue 0, pp 187–198

Seasonal variations in time and space utilization by radio-tagged yellow eels Anguilla anguilla (L.) in a small stream

  • E. Baras
  • D. Jeandrain
  • B. Serouge
  • J. C. Philippart
Article

Abstract

Seven yellow eels (572–643 mm, 318–592 g) Anguilla anguilla (L.) were tagged with surgically implanted radio transmitters (activity circuit, 1.6–1.7 g) and tracked in the Awirs stream, a small (width < 5 m, depth from 0.1 to 1.2 m), densely populated (ca. 250 kg of eel ha-1) tributary of the Belgian River Meuse. The eels were positioned daily from late April to mid-August, and their diel activity was studied during twenty four 24-h cycles. During day-time, the eels were resting in rootwads or in crevices inside stone walls or in crevices in between rocks. They became more active in the late afternoon but generally did not leave their residence before sunset, except under overcast weather. Activity peaked during the first part of the night then progressively vanished, and always ended before sunrise. The area exploited during night-time never extended over more than 40 m2, except when the eel changed its residence. The intensity and timing of nocturnal activity and the extent of the daily activity area were dependent on water temperature (respectively P < 0.0001, P < 0.05 and P < 0.0005), with eels showing little or no activity when the diurnal temperature did not exceed 13 °C. Eels showed higher agitation under full moon and maintained their activity later in the night (P < 0.05). The eels showed restricted mobility, and occupied small stream areas (from 0.01 to 0.10 ha) in a non sequential mode, except for two fish which were displaced to the River Meuse by a spate in early June and were never recovered. The length and frequency of net daily journeys were higher (P = 0.005) at water temperatures above 16 °C in late May and June, which also corresponded to the period of immigration of eels from the River Meuse. This study thus shows that large yellow eels may adopt a highly sedentary lifestyle in a continental, fast flowing and densely populated environment, even at periods of the year when these stages usually show upstream migrations.

home range diel activity foraging behaviour eel Anguilla anguilla 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Baras
  • D. Jeandrain
  • B. Serouge
  • J. C. Philippart

There are no affiliations available

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