The relationship between the position of the retinal area centralis and feeding behaviour in juvenile black bream Acanthopagrus butcheri (Sparidae: Teleostei) Conference Paper uri icon


  • The topography of the neurons in the retinal ganglion cell layer of juvenile black bream Acanthopagrus butcheri changes during development. The region of high cell density the area centralis (AC), relocates from a temporal (central) to a dorsal (peripheral) position within the dorso-temporal retinal quadrant. To ascertain whether the differences in the position of the AC during development are related to feeding behaviour, we monitored fishes that were given a choice of food. A range of feeding behaviour patterns was recorded in individual fishes. The smallest fishes (8-15 mm standard length (SL)) took live food from the water column. Following weaning onto pellets, fishes exhibited a preference for taking food from either the substrate or the surface (but not both). When greater than 20 mm SL, a number of individuals then divided their time between surface and substrate feeding before all fishes became exclusive benthic feeders at a stage between 50 and 80 mm SL. Three individual fishes, for which behaviour patterns were categorized, were killed and the topography of the retinal ganglion cell layer analysed. A range of positions for the AC was found with the smallest fish (12 mm SL) possessing a region of high cell density in the temporal retina. In a larger fish (70 mm SL), feeding from both the substrate and the surface, the AC was found in an intermediate dorso-temporal position. The AC of a fish (51 mm SL) preferentially taking food from the substrate was located in a dorsal position.

publication date

  • September 29, 2000