Aquaculture International

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 1177–1191 | Cite as

When behavioural geographic differentiation matters: inter-populational comparison of aggressiveness and group structure in the European perch

  • Lola ToomeyEmail author
  • Martin Bláha
  • Emilie Mauduit
  • Tatyana Vanina
  • Margot Baratçabal
  • Yannick Ledoré
  • Sami Vesala
  • Pascal Fontaine
  • Alain Pasquet
  • Thomas LecocqEmail author
European Percid Fish Culture


Domestication is still a long and difficult process and it is particularly impacted by species behavioural traits. Indeed, tolerance to high densities in intensive cultures and sociability are major features which facilitate domestication and influence the effectiveness of aquaculture production. Moreover, behavioural domestication predispositions could change at the intraspecific level. Here, we investigate three essential behavioural traits: aggressive interactions, group structure and activity between three allopatric populations of Perca fluviatilis, a fish species at its nascent stage of production. We highlight inter-populational differences in group structure and aggressive interactions but not in activity. A more cohesive and homogeneous group structure was demonstrated for Finnish populations compared to Lake Geneva at 45–46 days post-hatching. In addition, Lake Geneva presented a higher aggressiveness. These inter-populational differences could be used in European perch aquaculture in order to improve production as well as welfare of individuals.


Aggression Aquaculture Behaviour Cannibalism Intraspecific differentiation Larvae Perca fluviatilis Social structure 



Lake Geneva


Lake Valkea-Müstajärvi


Lake Iso-Valkjärvi


Recirculated aquaculture system



This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 652831 (AQUAEXCEL2020). This output reflects only the author’s view, and the European Union cannot be held responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein. LT is supported by a grant from the French “Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche”. TV is supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic—projects CENAKVA (No. CZ.1.05/2.1.00/01.0024), CENAKVA II (No. LO1205 under the NPU I programme), GAJU (No. 060/2016/Z) and NAZV (No. QJ 1510117). Authors acknowledge Laurent Espinat and Chloé Goulon (INRA, Thonon-Les-Bains, France) for their help with egg ribbon collection from Lake Geneva.

Compliance with ethical standards

All along experimental procedures, individuals were handled as little as possible. All procedures were in accordance with the national and international guidelines for protection of animal welfare (Directive 2010/63/EU). This study was conducted with the approval of Animal Care Committee of Lorraine (CELMA no. 66) and the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, and Innovation (APAFIS13368-2018020511226118).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed by the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université de Lorraine, Inra, URAFPANancyFrance
  2. 2.Faculty of Fisheries and Protection of Waters, South Bohemian Research Centre of Aquaculture and Biodiversity of HydrocenosesUniversity of South Bohemia in Ceske BudejoviceVodňanyCzech Republic
  3. 3.Natural Resources Institute FinlandHelsinkiFinland
  4. 4.CNRS (Centre national de la Recherche Scientifique)ParisFrance

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