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Personality profiling may help select better cleaner fish for sea-lice control in salmon farming
Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Volume: 243, Start page: 105459
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Lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus) are increasingly being used as cleaner fish to control parasitic sea-lice in salmon farming, but cleaning rates are very variable and not all individuals eat sea-lice, which increases the risk of emaciation and has ethical and practical implications. Selecting good clea...
|Published in:||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
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Lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus) are increasingly being used as cleaner fish to control parasitic sea-lice in salmon farming, but cleaning rates are very variable and not all individuals eat sea-lice, which increases the risk of emaciation and has ethical and practical implications. Selecting good cleaners is a priority to make the industry more sustainable, but there is little information on what behaviours make cleaner fish effective under a commercial setting. We examined variation in lumpfish personalities according to the five-factor personality model that takes into account differences in activity, anxiety (shelter use, thigmotaxis), aggression, sociality, and boldness (neophobia). We then quantified how variation in lumpfish personalities influenced interactions with naïve Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), without the confounding effects of variation in sea-lice loads. Variation in activity, sociality, aggression and neophobia, but not in anxiety, was repeatable. Neophilic, non-aggressive lumpfish spent more time inspecting salmon than neophobic and aggressive individuals, but salmon fled in the presence of the most active and social individuals, suggesting there may be an optimal cleaner fish personality amenable to artificial selection. The personality screening protocols developed in this study could inform a more efficient use of cleaner fish in salmon farming and reduce the number of individuals required to control sea-lice.
Preprint version of the article before certification by peer review is availabel at https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.05.21.444956v1
Cleaner fish, Activity, Neophobia, Sociality, Aggression, Repeatability
College of Science
Marine Harvest Scotland through the LUMPFISH Project and the Welsh Government via the European Regional Development Fund (SMARTAQUA Operation)