Sprinting behavior of free-ranging fish has long been thought to exceed that of captive fish. Here we present data from wild-caught brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and brown trout (Salmo trutta), volitionally entering and sprinting against high-velocity flows in an open-channel flume. Performance of the two species was nearly identical, with the species attaining absolute speeds > 25 body lengths·s−1. These speeds far exceed previously published observations for any salmonid species and contribute to the mounting evidence that commonly accepted estimates of swimming performance are low. Brook trout demonstrated two distinct modes in the relationship between swim speed and fatigue time, similar to the shift from prolonged to sprint mode described by other authors, but in this case occurring at speeds > 19 body lengths·s−1. This is the first demonstration of multiple modes of sprint swimming at such high swim speeds. Neither species optimized for distance maximization, however, indicating that physiological limits alone are poor predictors of swimming performance. By combining distributions of volitional swim speeds with endurance, we were able to account for >80% of the variation in distance traversed by both species.
Additional Publication Details
Breaking the speed limit--comparative sprinting performance of brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and brown trout (Salmo trutta)
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences