The ability to predict when sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) will metamorphose from the larval phase to the parasitic phase is essential to the operation of the sea lamprey control program. During the spring of 1994, two populations of sea lamprey larvae from two rivers were captured, measured, weighed, implanted with coded wire tags, and returned to the same sites in the streams from which they were taken. Sea lampreys were recovered in the fall, after metamorphosis would have occurred, and checked for the presence of a tag. When the spring data were compared to the fall data it was found that the minimum requirements (length a?Y 120 mm, weight a?Y 3 g, and condition factor a?Y 1.50) suggested for metamorphosis did define a pool of larvae capable of metamorphosing. However, logistic regressions that relate the probability of metamorphosis to size are necessary to predict metamorphosis in a population. The data indicated, based on cross-validation, that weight measurements alone predicted metamorphosis with greater precision than length or condition factor in both the Marengo and Amnicon rivers. Based on the Akaike Information Criterion, weight alone was a better predictor in the Amnicon River, but length and condition factor combined predicted metamorphosis better in the Marengo River. There would be no additional cost if weight alone were used instead of length. However, if length and weight were measured the gain in predictive power would not be enough to justify the additional cost.
Additional publication details
Comparison of spring measures of length, weight, and condition factor for predicting metamorphosis in two populations of sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) larvae