Largescale mullet (Planiliza macrolepis) can recover from thermal pollution-induced malformations

Yi Ta Shao, Shang Ying Chuang, Hao Yi Chang, Yung Che Tseng, Kwang Tsao Shao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


It is well known in aquaculture that hyperthermic perturbations may cause skeleton malformations in fish, but this phenomenon has rarely been documented in wild species. One rare location where thermal pollution has increased the proportion of malformed fish in wild population is in the waters near the Kuosheng Nuclear Power Plant in Taiwan. At this site, the threshold temperature and critical exposure time for inducing deformations have not been previously determined. In addition, it was unclear whether juvenile fish with thermal-induced malformations are able to recover when the temperature returns below the threshold. In the present study, juvenile largescale mullet (Planiliza macrolepis) were kept at temperatures ranging from 26C and 36C for 1–4 weeks, after which malformed fish were maintained at a preferred temperature of 26C for another 8 weeks. The vertebrae bending index (VBI) of fish was increased after 2 weeks at 36C, and deformed vertebral columns were detected by radiography after 4 weeks. However, malformations were not observed in groups kept at or below 34C. Moreover, at the end of the recovery period, both the VBI and the vertebrae malformations had returned to normal. The results of this study may help to more precisely determine potential environmental impacts of thermal pollution and raise the possibility that the capacity for fish vertebrae to recover from the impacts of chronic thermal exposures may be an important consideration in marine fish conservation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0208005
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Nov

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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