Experimental analysis of the territorial establishment of ayu,Plecoglossus altivelis

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Ayu mainly grazes benthic algae on river beds. To clarify the effects of individual behavioral differences on the territory establishment of ayu, we first recorded the number of active movements, aggression towards a wooden ayu model, and scraping feeding activities for 40 ayu, each in an aquarium with a ceramic plate with benthic algae. We then released 10 randomly chosen ayu and other cyprinids, 10 Tribolodon hakonensis and 10 Zacco platypus, into each of the four ponds with recirculating water. Four to six ayu established a territory for 1-20 of the 21 days observed in each pond. Territories were unstable in the first half period but became stable in the latter period. Territorial period was positively correlated with the number of active movements in aquaria and negatively with the number of conspecific invasions. The percentage of attacks against other species was positively correlated with the number of scraping behavior in aquaria and negatively with standard length of ayu. The growth rate of non-territorial ayu was large in case the ayu scraped more than half of ceramic plates in aquaria. In contrast, the growth rate of territorial ayu was correlated negatively with the standard length of ayu, and the percentage of attacks against other species, indicating that individual behavioral differences and the defending cost were both important in territory establishment and growth.

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