Clark, T. S., Pandolfo, L. M., Marshall, C. M. et al. 2018. Body condition scoring for adult zebrafish (Danio rerio). JAALAS 57(6), 698–702.
Body condition scoring (BCS) is a simple, rapid, noninvasive tool used to assess body condition in animals. In this study, we developed and validated a diagram-based BCS for adult zebrafish (Danio rerio), a popular research model. After receiving 20 min of hands-on training regarding the scoring system, 5 people each rated 95 adult zebrafish. The fish then were euthanized and measured to establish body condition indices (BMI and the Fulton K factor). Both condition indices were highly correlated with fish width. Using correlation data and observed trends in fish width, we established expected BCS definitions. We validated the BCS definitions in 2 ways. First, we calculated the Pearson correlation coefficient between the average observed BCS and expected BCS; this statistic revealed very strong correlation between observed and expected BCS. In addition, we assessed the predictive power of BCS by using multinomial logistic regression and then applied the fitted model to evaluate the accuracy of the predictions (BCS compared with BMI, 85%; BCS compared with K factor, 61%). Finally, to determine the robustness of BCS to variation among raters, we calculated the intraclass correlation coefficient and demonstrated high interrater reliability. In conclusion, adult zebrafish BCS can be used to quickly identify animals with different body condition indices (thin to obese). In addition, the diagram-based chart is easy to use and implement accurately, with minimal training.