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Laboratory experiments were conducted to assess shelter use and behaviour of juvenile Spotted Wolfish, Anarhichas minor, using time-lapse video. Information about the behaviour of Spotted Wolffish and its habitat utilization is sparse due to the great depth at which this species lives. Four experiments were conducted using one or two fish per tank, with and without a shelter. The positions and movements of fish in the tanks and interactions between fish were monitored over 24-h periods. In experiments in which no shelter was available, Spotted Wolffsih spent very little time exploring the water column. They did not show fidelity to a particular area on the bottom of the tank and exhibited few signs of aggressiveness to each other. When a shelter was made available, fish spent most of their time in the shelter or close to the shelter. The presence of a single shelter did not enhance aggressive behaviours in fish kept in pairs. When day and night observations were compared, no clear diel pattern emerged. The Canadian recovery plan for Spotted Wolffish calls for research aimed at describing their use of demersal habitats. The present study suggests that shelter availability might be an important feature of the habitat requirements of juvenile Spotted Wolffish.©2010 Springer
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