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Hybridization behaviour between two common European cyprinid fish species – silver bream, Blicca bjoerkna and common bream, Abramis brama – in a controlled environment

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The egg release–mating comparison, heterospecific matings and mating success under two hybridization conditions – (i) mixing one sex per species and (ii) mixing both sexes from each species – were investigated to determine whether silver bream Blicca bjoerkna and common bream Abramis brama can hybridize in nature.

The results revealed that non-matings in hybridization experiments of silver bream females × common bream males can be explained by territorial and aggressiveness activities observed in common bream. In common bream females × silver bream males, heterospecific matings were observed but their numbers were significantly lower than the spawning numbers, and in this experiment, a female mated with one to four heterospecific males. In mixing both sexes from both species, similar spawning – mating numbers were observed but heterospecific matings accounted for only 27% of the total matings, with 24% accounting for heterospecific matings between common bream females and silver bream males, directly or by opportunism. Mating success was characterized by the occurrence of fertilized eggs after matings.

Natural hybridization occurred preferentially between common bream females and silver bream males.

Affiliations: 1: University of Liege, Biology of Behaviour Unit, Laboratory of Fish Demography and Hydroecology, 10 Chemin de la Justice, B-4500 Tihange, Belgium; 2: University of Liège, Biology of Behaviour Unit, Laboratory of Fish Ethology, 22 Quai Van Beneden, B-4020 Liège, Belgium


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