Sunday, 12 May 2019

Not so sexy salmon

MAY 1, 2019
New research reveals that farmed salmon have smaller 'jaw hooks' or 'kype'- a secondary sexual trait, likened to the antlers of a stag, making them less attractive to females than their wild salmon cousins.
This new finding published in the peer–reviewed science journal Royal Society Open Science, implies that farm-bred salmonare less sexually attractive than their wild brethren, and that despite only being bred in captivity since the 1970's, within some 12 generations, that they are already diverging from wild salmon.
The findings form part of a wider research project into the differences between wild, farmed and hybrid salmon.
William Perry, a Ph.D. student at Bangor University's School of Natural Sciences and the paper's lead author explains:
"Farmed Atlantic salmon do sometimes escape from the nets and can interbreed with wild salmon, creating hybrids.
"Initially, the fact that any escaped salmon are less 'attractive' because of their smaller 'kype' may seem like good news, as they're less likely to breed. That's not the whole story however. Because farmed fish do not have to compete for mates, there is no element of sexual selection happening, making the farmed and hybrid fish poorly adapted to breeding in the wild. So, when you do see high levels of farmed escapees, and inevitable interbreeding within a wild salmon population, this could reduce the long term health of that population.

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