Effects of Fin-Clipping on the Foraging Behavior and Growth of Age-0 Muskellunge
We evaluated the effects of fin-clipping on the foraging behavior and growth of age-0 muskellunge Esox masquinongy. Fish were subjected to one of six fin-clipping treatments (one or both pectoral and pelvic fins, all paired fins, and a nonclipped control) and allowed to forage on golden shiners Notemigonus crysoleucas in laboratory pools (1.7 m in diameter). Observations of foraging behavior showed that muskellunge required a similar number of stalks, follows, and strikes to capture prey regardless of fin clip. Capture efficiencies (56%) were also similar among treatments. In outdoor pools (1.5 m in diameter), the growth and food conversion efficiency of fin-clipped muskellunge feeding on golden shiners over a 1-month period did not differ from those of unclipped controls. Fin removal did not compromise foraging behaviors and growth for juvenile muskellunge foraging on moderately evasive prey, and fish showed immediate behavioral compensation.
Topics concerning muskellunge and fisheries research, diseases, stocking and management.
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