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THE EFFECTS OF VENLAFAXINE ON FATHEAD MINNOW (PIMEPHALES PROMELAS) FEEDING BEHAVIOR AND STARTLE RESPONSE

Venlafaxine is an antidepressant drug commonly found in stream ecosystems. It is introduced to the environment through incomplete water treatment, but many aspects of its impact on aquatic life remain unclear. We hypothesized that the pharmaceutical venlafaxine reduces feeding and startle response behaviors in fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas). Our experiment consisted of a double blind test of four dosage levels and a control (n=7 tanks per treatment). The two lowest dose concentrations were similar to those observed in the environment. Fish were observed before and during feeding 2-3 times a week for five weeks. Behavior was assessed by recording startle response to a flashlight, and feeding by recording activity within 30 seconds of food being introduced to the tank. Results showed a 3-fold increase in proportion not feeding relative to the control and lowest dosage (Friedman’s test, p<0.001). Also, the proportion not startled roughly doubled in the two highest treatments (p<0.001). Our findings suggest that fish in streams with high concentrations of venlafaxine may exhibit changes in feeding behavior and, to a lesser extent, response to stimuli.

Morgan Eytcheson (Primary Presenter/Author, Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Indiana University of Pennsylvania , chwt@iup.edu;


Sean Becker ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Indiana University of Pennsylvania , yyrv@iup.edu;


David Janetski ( Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Indiana University of Pennsylvania, janetski@iup.edu;