Predator-prey relations involving fishes are often evaluated using scales remaining in gut contents or feces. While several reliable keys help identify North American freshwater fish scales to the family level, none attempt to separate the family Centrarchidae to the genus level. Centrarchidae is of particular concern in the midwestern United States because it contains several popular sport fishes, such as smallmouth bass Micropterus dolomieu, largemouth bass M. salmoides, and rock bass Ambloplites rupestris, as well as less-sought-after species of sunfishes Lepomis spp. and crappies Pomoxis spp. Differentiating sport fish from non-sport fish has important management implications. Morphological characteristics of lateral line scales (n = 1,581) from known centrarchid fishes were analyzed. The variability of measurements within and between genera was examined to select variables that were the most useful in further classifying unknown centrarchid scales. A linear discriminant analysis model was developed using 10 variables. Based on this model, 84.4% of Ambloplites scales, 81.2% of Lepomis scales, and 86.6% of Micropterus scales were classified correctly using a jackknife procedure. ?? Copyright by the American Fisheries Society 2007.
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Distinguishing centrarchid genera by use of lateral line scales