Lumpfish personalities

This project, partly funded by the Faroese Research Council, is about finding different kinds of behaviour in lumpfish, and to see if that behaviour is linked to whether they eat lice.

The project examines lumpfish for different behaviours, then the fish is divided into groups. They are then examined whether they eat lice, so as to
assess whether certain groups of lumpfish have more lice eaters than others

Behavioural studies include how quickly lumpfish get used to a new environment (when do they start eating after they are moved), how they behave when chased by a fishing net, and how they behave when a foreign fish (a mirror) is placed in their aquarium. Among other things, lumpfish's behaviour tells you something about how brave, passionate or curious they are. The results are subsequently used to categorize them.

To see if lumpfish eat lice, salmon is first infected with lice. Then the lumpfish is put in the cage with the infected salmon. After 10 days, lumpfish stomach contents are examined for lice DNA.

The results of the project will give indications as to whether it is possible to select good lice eaters among lumpfish.

If so, it will be possible to investigate whether this is hereditary, because tissue from all test fish is stored and can therefore be examined for inheritance properties. If the behaviour is hereditary, then it will be possible to select lumpfish with the desired characteristics of breeding fish for the next generation.


Contact person: Ása Johannesen