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    To study the relevance of density and background color to stress response, appetite, and growth in olive flounder, Paralichthys olivaceus, we reared two duplicate groups of juveniles (total length 4.46 ± 0.06 cm, body weight 0.77 ± 0.03 g) in flat-bottom aquaria with dark-green (control) and white backgrounds for 120 days. We measured cortisol and glucose levels in blood and calculated the daily food intake, food conversion efficiency, survival rate, and growth rate. To study the relevance of density and background color to malpigmentation (hypermelanosis) on the blind side, we also compared malpigmented ratios and prepro-melanin-concentrating hormone mRNA activities in the brain between the dark-green and white background groups, as well as between a relatively lower density (60 days) and higher density (120 days). Although we measured relatively higher levels of cortisol and glucose in the white background group and over 200 % of coverage area [PCA]), the bright background failed to induce an acute stress response of more than 20 ng/ml cortisol and 40 mg/dl glucose both in 60 days and 120 days, but did enhance appetite and growth. Also, a bright background color delayed hyperpigmentation only at a low density below 200 % PCA, but did not inhibit malpigmentation at a high density of more than 200 % PCA. In addition, below 200 % PCA, expression of MCH mRNA was significantly higher in the white group, but the level was reversed and was lower in the white group at more than 200 % PCA. In conclusion, although did not induce a high stress response over 200 % PCA, the bright background color resulted in a moderate increasing of cortisol level in blood below 20 ng/ml and enhanced appetite and growth. Moreover, at a density below 200 % PCA, the bright color inhibited hypermelanosis with high MCH mRNA activity, but at more than 200 % PCA did not inhibit malpigmentation, and the fish showed low MCH mRNA activity, indicating that the inhibitory effect of a bright background color on hypermelanosis is density dependent.


    Duk-Young Kang, Hyo-Chan Kim. Influence of density and background color to stress response, appetite, growth, and blind-side hypermelanosis of flounder, Paralichthys olivaceus. Fish physiology and biochemistry. 2013 Apr;39(2):221-32

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    PMID: 22829069

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