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Observation of the presence of crypsis in white mullet Mugil curema (Pisces: Mugilidae) juveniles under artificial rearing conditions

  • Ana L. Ibáñez (a1) and Diana Y. Montero (a1)

This study documents the presence of crypsis in Mugil curema juveniles under laboratory culture. Initially, the juveniles were located in one brown tank (BT1), later almost half of the individuals were placed in a white tank (WT) where they showed a pigmentation change to white. After being moved to another brown tank (BT2), the juveniles changed to their brown original colour, but kept a few small white spots on the dorsal axis of the body. The ventral head melanophore pattern also changed in the white specimens. Temperature (°C), oxygen (mg l−1) and Illuminance light (Lux m−2), total length (mm) and total weight (g) were determined by tank. Chromaticity was measured in L*(relative luminance) a*(measurement relating to the redness or greenness of the light) b*(measurement relating to the yellowness or blueness of the light) coordinates where all three values are required to completely describe an object’s colour. One-way ANOVA showed no differences for temperature, oxygen and illuminance light among tanks. Length and weight were similar for BT1 and WT but both were different from BT2. The white juveniles depicted similar L* as the WT background as well as the dorsal area of the brown pigmentation and converted juveniles to the brown tanks BT1 and BT2, respectively. Therefore, the fish's body relative luminance matches the background. To our knowledge this behaviour has not been reported before for any fish mullet either cultured or living in the wild.

Corresponding author
Correspondence should be addressed to: Ana L. Ibáñez Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Av. San Rafael Atlixco 186. CP 09340, Ciudad de México, México e-mail:
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Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
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  • EISSN: 1469-7769
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