Jaw malformation in striped trumpeter Latris lineata larvae linked to walling behaviour and tank colour
Cobcroft, JM and Battaglene, SC, Jaw malformation in striped trumpeter Latris lineata larvae linked to walling behaviour and tank colour, Aquaculture, 289, (3-4) pp. 274-282. ISSN 0044-8486 (2009) [Refereed Article]
Jaw malformations are a recurrent obstacle in the hatchery production of high quality juveniles of many marine finfish species. Whilst nutrition and temperature are often cited as the most likely causes, this study investigated manipulation of the physical culture environment and larval behaviour to reduce jaw malformations. The onset of jaw malformation after metamorphosis in striped trumpeter, Latris lineata, follows changes in larval behaviour from an even distribution throughout the water column to close association with the tank walls, often with vigorous swimming into the walls known as walling behaviour.
Larvae were reared through metamorphosis, 16 to 44 days post-hatching (dph), in twenty four 300-l hemispherical tanks with six different wall colours, black, blue, green, marble (a black, grey and white mottled pattern), red and white. Walling behaviour and jaw malformation were assessed. The highest proportion of severely malformed jaws at 44 dph occurred in red tanks, followed by green, white, blue, black and marble. More fish walled in coloured tanks (2544%) than in black and marble tanks (9.6 and 3.4%, respectively). The proportion of fish with jaw malformations at 44 dph was positively correlated with fish walling behaviour. Both black and marble tanks had more than 50% of fish with normal jaws at 44 dph, and close to 80% with no or very minor malformations. Growth and survival to 44 dph were highest in the black (15.7±1.3 mm fork length, 7.9±0.9 mg dry weight, 71±6%) and marble (15.6±1.2 mm, 7.6±0.5 mg, 58±17%)
tanks, compared with the lowest values in red tanks (14.2±1.1 mm, 6.4±0.4 mg, 11±6%). Potential mechanisms for the influence of walling behaviour on jaw malformation are mechanical damage and poor nutrition, via reduced feed intake and increased energy expenditure. The study highlights the often overlooked importance of hard-surface interactions in the growth and survival of some cultured marine fish and demonstrates a cheap and effective technique for assessing tank background colour as a means of reducing malformations in cultured fish.
Teleost, Marine fish larvae, behavious, deformity, Australia, larviculture