Brazilian Journal of Biology ()

Biological indicators of stress in pacu (Piaractus mesopotamicus) after capture

  • JS. Abreu,
  • LS. Takahashi,
  • MA. Hoshiba,
  • EC. Urbinati

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 69, no. 2
pp. 415 – 421


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The effects of capture (chasing, netting and air exposure) on cortisol, glucose, chloride, sodium, potassium and calcium concentrations, osmolality, hematocrit, hemoglobin concentration, red blood cells count (RBC) and mean corpuscular volume (MCV) were investigated in pacu (Piaractus mesopotamicus). A total of 132 fish (49.7 ± 11.7 g) were subjected to capture and 3 minutes air exposure and capture and 5 minutes air exposure. Nine fish at each treatment were sampled at 5, 15, 30, 60 minutes and 24 hours after the procedure. Nine undisturbed fish were sacrificed before the handling and used as controls. Capture resulted in a rise in blood cortisol and glucose 30 and 5 minutes, respectively, after both air exposures. Both indicators returned to resting levels 24 hours after capture. In both fish groups, plasma chloride decreased 60 minutes after capture, not recovering the resting levels within 24 hours after, and serum sodium rose at 15 and 30 minutes and recovered the resting levels 24 hours later. There were no significant changes neither in potassium, calcium and osmolality nor in hematocrit, hemoglobin, RBC and MCV as a consequence of capture. The sequential stressors imposed to pacu during capture activated the brain-pituitary-interrenal axis (cortisol and glucose responses) but the activation of the brain-sympathetic-chromaffin cell axis was apparently moderate (ionic and hematological responses).