Feeding motivation as a personality trait in Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus): role of serotonergic neurotransmission

P.I.M. Silva, C.I.M. Martins, Erik Höglund, H. M. Gjøen, Ø. Øverli

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Consistent individual variation in behaviour and physiology (i.e. animal personality or coping style) has emerged as a central topic in many biological disciplines. Yet, underlying mechanisms of crucial personality traits like feeding behaviour in novel environments remain unclear. Comparative studies, however, reveal a strong degree of evolutionary conservation of neural mechanisms controlling such behaviours throughout the vertebrate lineage. Previous studies have indicated duration of stress-induced anorexia as a consistent individual characteristic in teleost fishes. This study aims to determine to what degree brain 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT, serotonin) activity pertains to this aspect of animal personality, as a correlate to feed anticipatory behaviour and recovery of feed intake after transfer to a novel environment. Crucial to the definition of animal personality, a strong degree of individual consistency in different measures of feeding behaviour (feeding latency and feeding score), was demonstrated. Furthermore, low serotonergic activity in the hypothalamus was highly correlated with a personality characterized by high feeding motivation, with feeding motivation represented as an overall measure incorporating several behavioural parameters in a Principle Component Analyses (PCA). This study thus confirms individual variation in brain 5-HT neurotransmission as a correlate to complex behavioural syndromes related to feeding motivation
Original languageEnglish
JournalFish Physiology & Biochemistry
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1547-1557
Publication statusPublished - 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Feeding motivation as a personality trait in Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus): role of serotonergic neurotransmission'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this