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Aquatic Biology

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AB 20:195-202 (2014)  -  DOI:

Retention of learned predator recognition in an endangered sucker Chasmistes liorus liorus 

Stephanie K. Archer1,2,*, Todd A. Crowl1

1Utah State University, Ecology Center and Watershed Sciences Department, Logan, Utah 84322, USA
2Present Address: Department of Applied Ecology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Captive propagation and restocking of native fishes is a common conservation strategy. However, hatchery-reared fishes are predator-naïve, and thus many stocked fishes are lost to predation, reducing the effectiveness of restocking programs. Many fishes use odor to identify known predators and, through the detection of chemical alarm cues, learn to recognize novel predators. A large body of research has focused on the efficacy of using predator odors in conjunction with chemical alarm cues to train hatchery-reared fishes to recognize predators prior to stocking. While it appears possible to train most fishes to recognize a novel predator through exposure to olfactory cues, few studies have shown that this training translates into increased survival for trained fishes. Recently, it has been proposed that hatchery fishes do not retain the learned associations long enough for hatchery training to result in increased survival, though few studies have quantified how long hatchery-reared fishes do retain learned associations. We conducted a series of laboratory experiments that demonstrate hatchery-raised June sucker Chasmistes liorus liorus, an endangered sucker endemic to Utah Lake, Utah, USA, can learn to recognize a novel predator (largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides). We also show that this learned association is retained for at least 2 d, but is lost by 10 d after initial exposure. Our results suggest that in the absence of reinforcement, June sucker do not retain learned predator recognition long enough to expect hatchery training to translate into increased survival.

KEY WORDS: June sucker · Chasmistes liorus liorus · Olfactory cues · Learning · Retention · Largemouth bass · Micropterus salmoides

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Cite this article as: Archer SK, Crowl TA (2014) Retention of learned predator recognition in an endangered sucker Chasmistes liorus liorus . Aquat Biol 20:195-202.

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