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Effects of exogenous melatonin on the reproductive activities of Nile tilapia, Oreochromis niloticus

Kim, Jung-Hyun, Park, Jin Woo, Kwon, Joon Yeong
Biological rhythm research 2018 v.49 no.3 pp. 392-404
Oreochromis niloticus, eggs, females, fish, gonadosomatic index, gonads, males, melatonin, photoperiod, spawning, spermatozoa
Gonadal development and sexual maturation of fish are often related to photic conditions. We attempted to utilise the direct application of melatonin to elicit similar effects in the absence of photoperiod manipulation. We found no significant differences in somatic growth between melatonin-treated groups and controls, indicating that melatonin administration did not negatively affect the growth of the experimental fish. Treatment with low-dose melatonin (0.3 mg/kg BW) resulted in a decrease in spawning frequency, number of spawned eggs and gonadosomatic index in female tilapia. In male tilapia, low-dose melatonin was associated with a decrease in sperm count, spermatocrit and spermatozoa activity index, implying that exogenous melatonin might mimic the effects of shortened light photoperiod, which suppresses reproductive activity in this species. These results suggest the possibility that an optimised dose of melatonin treatment could be used to control the spawning behaviour of this species.