[en] activity ; foraging ; rhythm ; time-budgeting ; temperature ; stream ; brown trout
[en] Nine brown trout (27.9-42.8 cm FL, 234-995 g) from the Aisne stream (Belgian Ardenne) were tagged with surgically implanted radio transmitters, and their activity patterns were studied at 10-min intervals during twenty-six 24-h cycles from October 1995 to May 1997. The duration and intensity of activity were mainly proportional to water temperature and day length but some differences appeared between individuals. The daily home range in summer was also 3.2 times longer than in winter, and was exploited 2.5 times more intensively. At all seasons, trout were most active at dusk, and seasonal variations in diel patterns consisted mainly in a progressive shift from more crepuscular activity in autumn and winter to more homogenous and intensive activity during spring and summer, but still with a predominance of activity at dusk. This relative consistency of activity rhythm throughout the year was interpreted within the context of foraging risk and efficiency, in view of the scarcity of predators in the Aisne stream, and of drifting macroinvertebrates being consistently more abundant at dusk at all times of the year. However, activity patterns varied substantially between individuals living in different microhabitats, including when fish were investigated on the same day. This suggests that activity patterns are also subordinated to local factors such as habitat structure or abundance of drifting prey.