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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2015

The effect of anesthetics on carotenoid pigmentation and behavior in Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus)

Backström, Tobias; Heynen, Martina; Brännäs, Eva; Nilsson, Jan; Magnhagen, Carin

Abstract

Status of individual animals is often shown in pigmentation. For instance, stress responsiveness is associated with melanin-based pigmentation in vertebrates in general. This pattern is evident in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), with melanin-based spots indicating stress coping style. Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) differ from other salmonids in pigmentation but have an association between carotenoid-based pigmentation and stress coping style. These pigmentation differences could be used as a fast and simple tool for improving breeding programs. However, the procedure for photographing individuals is stressful. Therefore, we wanted to investigate if 3 common inhalation anesthetics could be used to reduce the stress involved in the procedure compared to a no-anesthetics group. Behavior was also monitored during the anesthetization. All 3 anesthetics (Aquacalm, Benzocaine, and MS-222) differed in pigmentation compared to the no-anesthetics group by having a higher number of spots. In the anesthetic treatments as well as the no-anesthetics group, the fish had elevated plasma cortisol levels. In fact, the no-anesthetics group had higher cortisol than treated fish. This was probably because of procedural differences such as time affecting the stress response. Furthermore, in a long-term experiment, all fish survived and had similar condition factors 1 week after photographing as before. Therefore, the method for photographing Arctic char is deemed safe and could be used as a tool for estimating stress coping style, but careful planning is needed for experiments using it

Keywords

anesthetics; animal welfare; Arctic char; carotenoid pigmentation; stress

Published in

Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research
2015, volume: 10, number: 2, pages: 179-184

Authors' information

Backström, Tobias
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Heynen, Martina
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Brännäs, Eva
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Nilsson, Jan
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies

UKÄ Subject classification

Fish and Aquacultural Science
Ecology

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jveb.2014.11.007

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/65405