Individual variation in growth, feed intake and feeding behaviour has been previously recognized in several fish species. However, there is a lack of information regarding the consistency of such individual differences, which is important to understand the probability of a certain individual trait to be inherent, i.e. genetically linked. The goal of this study is to quantify the consistency of individual differences in growth, feed intake/efficiency and feeding behaviour in African catfish Clarias gariepinus (Burchell 1822). Forty-eight juvenile fish (58.9±0.4 g) were housed individually for 47 days and weighed every second week. The consistency of growth, feed efficiency (residual feed intake (RFI)) and feeding behaviour (total feeding time (TFT)) was determined using repeatability estimates. Fish exhibited pronounced individual variation in growth (CV=52.8%), feed intake (34.3%) and in the TFT (>100%). The repeatability estimates were 0.55 for growth, 0.70 for feed intake, 0.49 for RFI and 0.81 for TFT. Individual differences in growth were mainly explained by individual differences in feed intake (80%). Individual differences in feeding behaviour contributed to explain differences in feed intake by affecting the RFI. With increasing TFT, the maintenance levels also increased suggesting that slow eaters were less efficient in feed/energy utilization. The results of this study indicate that individual differences in growth, feed intake/efficiency and feeding behaviour are consistent over time and therefore probably inherent. Moreover, this study may have implications on the use of feeding behaviour as a predictor of feed efficiency in juveniles of African catfish.
- juvenile atlantic salmon
- arctic charr