Psychological and social well‐being of bony fishes in zoos and aquariums

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
Ronald G Oldfield, Patrick E Bonano
Zoo Biology
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Research on the behavior of animals in zoos has been conducted for decades and observations have provided information that has improved the psychological and social well-being of animals. However, research on fishes in zoos and aquariums seems to be lacking. Here we assess the current state of research on fishes in zoos and aquariums by surveying peer-reviewed literature. Our assessment differs from previous surveys in that we examine the taxonomic classes Chondrichthyes (sharks and rays) and Osteichthyes (bony fishes) separately. Our survey finds that bony fishes have been drastically underrepresented in zoo journals, more so than chondrichthyans, revealing an urgent need for zoos and aquariums to conduct research on the behavior of the bony fishes in their care, to ensure a positive state of psychological and social well-being. To plot a course for the future, we discuss the few studies that have been conducted on the behavior of bony fishes in zoos and aquariums, and we discuss research conducted on bony fishes in food-fish aquaculture and biomedicine to identify the types of studies that could be conducted in zoos and aquariums. We conclude that data-driven analyses of fish behavior could aid in development of evidence-based practices that enhance the well-being of bony fishes in zoos and aquariums, just as they already do for terrestrial animals.


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