54-1 Life history comparison of three species in the Etheostoma maculatum species group

Thursday, September 16, 2010: 8:00 AM
305 (Convention Center)
Crystal L. Ruble , Wildlife and Fisheries Management, West Virginia University - Conservation Fisheries, Inc., Knoxville, TN
Stuart A. Welsh, PhD , West Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, U.S. Geological Survey, Morgantown, WV
The spotted darter species group, Etheostoma maculatum, contains 6 species which all have very fragmented distributions or small ranges.  In this study three species in this group were spawned in captivity to compare life histories: the boulder darter (E. wapiti), the wounded darter (E. vulneraturm), and the spotted darter (E. maculatum).  In 2008 the wounded darters spawned for a total of 12 weeks, whereas the boulder darters and the spotted darters spawned for only 6 weeks.   Egg size of the spotted darter was smaller (1.8-2.0 mm) compared to that of the wounded darter (2.0-2.4 mm) and boulder darter (2.1-2.4mm).  Spotted darter yolk sac larvae were also smaller (6.8-7.2 mm TL) compared to that of the boulder darter yolk sac larvae (8.6-9.0 mm TL), and the wounded darter yolk sac larvae (8.1-9.0 mm TL).  The wounded darters had the highest fecundity with an average of 345 egg per female produced compared to the spotted darter 191 eggs per female, and the boulder darter 163 eggs per female.  Data from this captive propagation study will contribute toward conservation and management plans for all darters in the E. maculatum species group.
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