Cannibalism occurs in many cultured fish species, especially at the larval and juvenile stages of piscivorous taxa. In farmed percid species, such as pikeperch (Sander lucioperca
), intra-cohort cannibalism is a major issue inducing significant losses of the initial stocking density during the first weeks of rearing. Therefore, the present study was designed to investigate the effects of perch larvae (Perca fluviatilis
) as live prey on growth, survival and cannibalism in pikeperch larvae under experimental conditions. Additionally, zootechnical and behavioural variables linked to aggressiveness (S postures, attacks, bites and ingestion), and group structures were considered. The survival rate was not different between the two groups (72% with prey vs. 69% without prey), but the cannibalism rate was higher in the group with the prey (28% vs. 10%). The means of final weight and length of pikeperch larvae were higher in the group fed with perch larvae, but size heterogeneity measured by the coefficients of variation for these two parameters did not differ. The specific growth rate was higher in the group fed with perch larvae, but there was no difference between the two groups concerning Fulton’s condition factor. Among all the behavioural variables (aggressiveness, group structure), none differed between the two groups.
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