We measured morphometric and meristic parameters of gill rakers from the first gill arch of 36 adult lake herring (Coregonus artedi) from Lake Superior that ranged in length from 283-504 mm. These data, coupled with the mean of the smallest two body dimensions (length, width, or breadth) of various zooplankton prey, allowed us to calculate retention probabilities for zooplankton taxa that are common in Lake Superior. The mean of the smallest two body dimensions was positively correlated with body length for cladocerans and copepods. The large cladoceran, Daphnia g. mendotae, is estimated to be retained at a greater probability (74%) than smaller cladocerans (18-38%). The same is true for the large copepod, Limnocalanus macrurus (60%), when compared to smaller copepods (6-38%). Copepods have a lower probability of being retained than cladocerans of similar length. Lake herring gill rakers and total filtering area are also positively correlated with fish total length. These data provide further evidence that lake herring are primarily planktivores in Lake Superior, and our data show that lake herring can retain a broad range of prey sizes.
Additional publication details
Relationship of lake herring (Coregonus artedi) gill raker characteristics to retention probabilities of zooplankton prey