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Feeding behaviour and food utilisation in tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus : effect of sex ration and relationship with the endocrine status

Toguyeni A., Fauconneau B., Boujard T., Fostier A., Khun E.R., Mol K., Baroiller J.F.. 1997. Physiology and Behavior, 62 (2) : p. 273-279.

DOI: 10.1016/S0031-9384(97)00114-5

The feeding behaviour of male monosex, female monosex, and mixed groups of Oreochromis niloticus was studied under conditions of self-feeding. Feeding activity was observed almost exclusively during the light period. The food intake pattern was similar whatever the sex ratio, and voluntary food intake (VFI) appeared lower in the male monosex groups than in the others. Male monosex groups displayed higher specific growth rates (SGR) and a lower food conversion ratio than female monosex and mixed groups. The SGR of males was higher in the monosex than in the mixed groups, whereas females of mixed and monosex groups displayed no significant difference in SGR. The efficiency of food utilisation was also analysed: nutrient retention ratios were higher in male monosex than in female monosex and mixed groups. Males displayed a distinctly higher metabolic capacity. Differences in sex-related hormones (11 ketotestosterone = 11-KT, 17B-Oestradiol = 17B-E2) and a metabolic hormone (triiodothyronine = T3) were observed between males and females. The hypothesis of an involvement of these hormones in the higher metabolic capacity of males is discussed. The observed differences in feeding behaviour between the different groups also suggest an effect of social interactions on the efficiency of food conversion and thus on the difterential growth of males and females.

Mots-clés : oreochromis niloticus; comportement alimentaire; structure de la population; métabolisme; hormone

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