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Spawning behaviour and mating success in hybrids of silver bream (Blicca bjoerkna L.) and rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus L.) in an experimental environment

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The egg-release, mating, courting and aggressive acts for the spawning behaviour as well as the survival rates after spawning at stages of eyed embryos, viable hatchlings, and larvae to dry food consumption for the mating success were studied in cultured silver bream Blicca bjoerkna × rudd Scardinius erythrophthalmus hybrids at their first sexual maturity. Experiments were conducted in experimental environments simulating natural reproductive conditions of the parental species. Spawning behaviour was analysed over 1 day from 8.00 to 18.00 hours using a remote-controlled video. Mating success was assessed from eggs and hatched embryos collected on the spawning ground. The results showed that these hybrids exhibited all the reproductive behaviours of the parental species with significantly more courtship than mating. Each egg-release act was accompanied by mating behaviour, involving all the experimental males. A surprising aggressive behaviour was observed in one male which attacked all other experimental fish. Successful mating resulted in the presence of fertilized eggs, the production of hatched embryos in experiments, and the survival of larvae at the dry food consumption stage. However, the low viable hatchling rate observed could indicate a very low chance of survival for these hybrids in rivers in which the occurrence of post-F1 individuals may be more possible by backcrossing.

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


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