Overwintering aggregation patterns of European catfish Silurus glanis - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Movement Ecology Year : 2023

Overwintering aggregation patterns of European catfish Silurus glanis

Patterns d'agrégation hivernale du Silure glane Silurus glanis

Abstract

Abstract Animal aggregation, particularly in large-bodied species, is both a fascinating and intriguing phenomenon. Here we analyzed the overwintering behavior of the European catfish, Silurus glanis Linnaeus, 1758, the largest freshwater fish in Europe. By tracking 47 subadults and adults in a shallow lake in southeastern France, we reported a consistent aggregative behavior across four successive winters. By implementing time series analysis and Cox proportional hazard models, we investigated the dynamics of these aggregations (formation, stability, dislocation), and the factors that govern it, whether external (temperature, time of the day) or specific to the fish (size, key individuals). These aggregations lasted 1.5–2 months and mainly took place in a single small 4 m-deep area whose environmental conditions (temperature, oxygen, substrate) did not differ from other parts of the lake. In some periods during winter, all tagged fish were aggregated, which suggests that a large proportion of the lake population gathered there. Low temperatures (below 9 °C) triggered the formation of aggregations. They became more stable with decreasing temperatures, while individuals more frequently left the aggregation, preferentially at dusk and at night, when temperatures increased. The largest individuals swam more frequently back and forth to the aggregation. Irrespective of their size, some individuals consistently arrived earlier in the aggregation in winter and left later. This predictable seasonal grouping of individuals and, more generally, the knowledge provided by such studies on how species use space have important operational value and are useful for species conservation as well as for species control.
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hal-04061395 , version 1 (06-04-2023)

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Samuel Westrelin, Mathieu Moreau, Vincent Fourcassié, Frédéric Santoul. Overwintering aggregation patterns of European catfish Silurus glanis. Movement Ecology, 2023, 11 (1), pp.9. ⟨10.1186/s40462-023-00373-6⟩. ⟨hal-04061395⟩
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