The androgen 11-ketotestosterone (11KT) is associated with the physiological and morphological changes that occur during the transformation of sedentary (‘yellow’) freshwater eels (Anguilla spp.) into their migratory form (‘silver’) prior to their spawning migration in the ocean. In this study, we investigate the possible role of 11KT in modulating behaviors consistent with downstream migration; i.e., downstream and salinity preference in the New Zealand shortfinned eel (A. australis). Unlike silvering, 11KT did not induce preference for downstream locations, scored as presence at the downstream ends of 35 m raceways. Likewise, there was no evidence for increased salinity preference in 11KT-treated yellow eels, scored as preference for sea water over fresh water in a choice experiment. However, the 11KT treatment induced higher frequency of movements between fresh water and sea water, which may indicate restlessness.
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Vol. 29 • No. 1