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Reproduction and early life accommodations of landlocked alewives alosa pseudoharengus to a southern range extension



Reproduction and early life accommodations of landlocked alewives alosa pseudoharengus to a southern range extension



Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 111(5): 559-569



Reproduction and 1st-yr growth and food habits of landlocked alewives, A. pseudoharengus, in Claytor Lake, Virginia [USA] were examined and compared to descriptions for populations in the species established New England-Great Lakes range. Alewives in mesothermal (2-27.degree. C) Claytor Lake are shorter-lived (3 yr) but grow faster, mature earlier (age 1), and have higher relative and absolute fecundities than have been reported for populations in colder northern waters. The 1979 spawning period extended from early May to early Aug., beginning at least 1 mo. earlier and lasting 4-9 wk longer than in northern lakes. Changes in ovary condition during the spawning period suggest that alewives may be fractional spawners. Evidence of spawning was found in littoral areas throughout the lower 15 km of the reservoir. Growth in length of age-0 Claytor Lake alewives was linear through Sept. and terminated in late autumn. Total 1st-yr growth was reduced in 1979 (maximum of 130 mm total length, TL) from previous years (average of 160 mm TL), although it was substantially greater than recorded in the Great Lakes and the northeastern USA. The longer growing season, rather than accelerated in-season growth, appears to account for larger size achieved in Claytor Lake. High annual growth limits predation by Claytor Lake game fish on early spawned age-0 alewives by late summer. As elsewhere, larval and juvenile alewives (6-70 mm TL) fed primarily on copepods and cladocerans. Age-0 alewives > 35 mm TL demonstrated positive size-selection for cyclopoid copepods comparable to that shown by adults. Self-sustaining alewife populations can be established in many inland waters, but there are concerns regarding their forage value and community impacts.

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Accession: 006315402

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