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The stress response of wild and captive reared rainbowfish (Melanoteania duboulayi) following chasing by a simulated predator was examined. Cortisol release rate was monitored using a flow through system by measuring water borne hormone levels. Tests using known cortisol concentrations revealed that the technique yielded 95% of the cortisol present in the water. Cortisol release rates increased several fold in both populations after being chased but peaked at different time periods. Wild fish showed a typical stress response with release rate rising to (2.29±0.22 ng g−1 h−1) 2 h after exposure followed by rapid recovery. The captive-reared population by contrast showed an atypical response with cortisol release rate peaking 4 h post exposure but reaching only half the level of the wild fish (1.19±0.11 ng g−1 h−1). The implications for the release of hatchery-reared fish for stock enhancement are discussed.


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