Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

The effect of increased light intensity on the aggressive behavior of the Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus (Teleostei: Cichlidae)

B. Carvalho, ThaísZ. Mendonça, FrancineS. Costa-Ferreira, RoseleneGonçalves-de-Freitas, Eliane

Animals show behavioral and physiological changes that emerge in response to environmental perturbations (i.e., emergency life-history stages). In this study, we investigate the effects of light intensity on aggressive encounters and social stability in groups of adult male Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus (Linnaeus, 1758). The study compared the behavior observed under low (280.75 ± 50.60 lx) and high (1394.14 ± 520.32 lx) light intensities, with 12 replicates for each treatment. Adult fish were isolated in 36-L aquaria for 96 hours, and three males were grouped for 11 days in 140-L aquaria. Agonistic behavior was video-recorded (10 min/day) on the 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th day to quantify aggressive interactions and social stability. There was an effect of light intensity and day of observation on the total number of agonistic behaviors performed by the fish group. Besides, increased frequency of aggressive interactions (the sum of the four sessions) by the alpha, beta and gamma fish occurred at the higher light intensity. The dominance ranks of the fish remained unchanged across the observation sessions under both the low and high light intensities. We concluded that enhanced light intensity has a cumulative effect that increases the aggressiveness of the Nile tilapia but that this effect is not sufficiently strong to destabilize the social hierarchy.

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