Résumé: In various experiments under self-feeding conditions, sea bass groups could be divided into three categories regarding feeder actuation: high, low and zero-triggering fish. In all cases few high-triggering fish were responsible for a high percentage of the feed delivery. A question was raised about the role played by feeding motivation in such high-triggering status acquisition. It was approached by applying a 3-week fasting period in order to induce similar negative specific growth rate (SGR) in two groups of fish of similar mean weight but with either a low or a high coefficient of variation for weight (CVw)(T-low: CVw similar to 11%, 3 tanks of 60 fish each; T-high: CVw similar to 20%, 3 tanks of 60 fish each). These groups were created to test the consistency of behavioural responses in two different contexts (i.e. two population size-distributions). During the follow-up period of 40 days, the group level feed-demand behaviour was not strongly modified by the fasting period and there were no differences between T-low and T-high groups. Complete growth compensation was the same in all tanks as observed at the end of the experiment. At the individual level, high-triggering fish were exactly the same individuals before and after the fasting period. Up to four high-triggering fish could be observed according to the tank and when several fish were performing high-triggering activity, their rankings were sometimes reversed after the fasting period. High-triggering fish increased their activity levels after the fasting period showing behavioural plasticity. High-triggering status could neither be explained by an initial lower SGR nor a sex effect, nor by any of the measured physiological blood parameters. Thus, individual's triggering activity levels could be related to personality and/or metabolic traits but further research is required to confirm this assumption. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.