Life stage dependent responses to desiccation risk in the annual killifish Nothobranchius wattersi

A. F. Grégoir, C. Philippe, T. Pinceel, J. Reniers, E. S.J. Thoré, B. Vanschoenwinkel, L. Brendonck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Citations (Scopus)


To assess whether the annual killifish Nothobranchius wattersi responds plastically to a desiccation risk and whether this response is life stage dependent, life-history traits such as maturation time, fecundity and life span were experimentally measured in N. wattersi that were subjected to a drop in water level either as juveniles, as adults or both as juveniles and adults. Fish that were exposed to simulated pool drying as juveniles did not show changes in reproductive output or life span. Adults reacted by doubling short term egg deposition at the cost of a shorter lifespan. Overall, these results suggest that annual fish species can use phenotypic plasticity to maximize their reproductive output when faced with early pond drying, but this response appears to be life-stage specific. In addition to frogs and aquatic insects, phenotypic plasticity induced by forthcoming drought is now also confirmed in annual fishes and could well be a common feature of the limited number of fish taxa that manage to survive in this extreme environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)880-895
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Fish Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017


  • desiccation
  • life history
  • Nothobranchius
  • phenotypic plasticity
  • pool drying

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Life stage dependent responses to desiccation risk in the annual killifish Nothobranchius wattersi'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this