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New insight into the spawning behavior of lake trout, Salvelinus namaycush, from a recovering population in the Laurentian Great Lakes

Environmental Biology of Fishes

By:
, , , , , , and
DOI: 10.1007/s10641-014-0247-6

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Abstract

Spawning behavior of lake trout, Salvelinus namaycush, is poorly understood, relative to stream-dwelling salmonines. Underwater video records of spawning in a recovering population from the Drummond Island Refuge (Lake Huron) represent the first reported direct observations of lake trout spawning in the Laurentian Great Lakes. These observations provide new insight into lake trout spawning behavior and expand the current conceptual model. Lake trout spawning consisted of at least four distinct behaviors: hovering, traveling, sinking, and gamete release. Hovering is a new courtship behavior that has not been previously described. The apparent concentration of hovering near the margin of the spawning grounds suggests that courtship and mate selection might be isolated from the spawning act (i.e., traveling, sinking, and gamete release). Moreover, we interpret jockeying for position displayed by males during traveling as a unique form of male-male competition that likely evolved in concert with the switch from redd-building to itinerant spawning in lake trout. Unlike previous models, which suggested that intra-sexual competition and mate selection do not occur in lake trout, our model includes both and is therefore consistent with evolutionary theory, given that the sex ratio on spawning grounds is skewed heavily towards males. The model presented in this paper is intended as a working hypothesis, and further revision may become necessary as we gain a more complete understanding of lake trout spawning behavior.

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Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
New insight into the spawning behavior of lake trout, Salvelinus namaycush, from a recovering population in the Laurentian Great Lakes
Series title:
Environmental Biology of Fishes
DOI:
10.1007/s10641-014-0247-6
Edition:
Online First
Volume
98
Issue:
1
Year Published:
2014
Language:
English
Publisher:
Springer
Contributing office(s):
Great Lakes Science Center
Description:
9 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Environmental Biology of Fishes
First page:
173
Last page:
181
Other Geospatial:
Drummond Island Refuge;Lake Huron
Online Only (Y/N):
N
Additional Online Files(Y/N):
N