We examined whether extended laboratory simulation of natural photothermal conditions could stimulate reproduction in the Neosho madtom Noturus placidus, a federally threatened species. For 3 years, a captive population of Neosho madtoms was maintained under simulated natural conditions and monitored routinely with ultrasound for reproductive condition. Female Neosho madtoms cycled in and out of spawning condition, producing and absorbing oocytes annually. Internal measurements made by means of ultrasound indicated the summer mean oocyte size remained consistent over the years, although estimated fecundity increased with increasing fish length. In the summer of 2001, after 3 years in the simulated natural environment, 13 out of 41 fish participated in 10 spawnings. Simulation of the natural photothermal environment, coupled with within-day temperature fluctuations during the spring rise, seemed important for the spawning of captive Neosho madtoms. The use of ultrasound to assess the reproductive status in Neosho madtoms was effective and resulted in negligible stress or injury to the fish. These procedures may facilitate future culture of this species and other madtoms Noturus spp., especially when species are rare, threatened, or endangered. ?? Copyright by the American Fisheries Society 2005.
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Examining Neosho madtom reproductive biology using ultrasound and artificial photothermal cycles