To provide a method for estimating fish size from fish otoliths for forensic applications or other predictive uses, morphometric measurements were obtained from three centrarchid fishes (pumpkinseed [Lepomis gibbosus], rock bass [Ambloplites rupestris], and smallmouth bass [Micropterus dolomieu]), two percids (yellow perch [Perca flavescens] and walleye [Stizostedion vitreum]), and one clupeid (alewife [Alosa pseudoharengus]) from the eastern basin of Lake Ontario. These species are the principal or economically important prey of Double-crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus), whose diet can be determined from regurgitated digestive pellets containing fish otoliths. A fuller understanding of the ecosystem roles of cormorants requires estimation of prey-fish size, obtainable from regressions of otolith length on fish length. Up to 100 fish of each species were collected from eastern Lake Ontario and measured for total length and otolith length. Least-squares regressions of otolith length on fish length were calculated for all species, covering life-stage ranges of immature fish to large adults near maximum known size. The regressions with 95% confidence intervals may be applicable outside the Lake Ontario ecosystem if used with caution.
Additional publication details
Use of fish-otolith-length regressions to infer size of double-crested cormorant prey fish from recovered otoliths in Lake Ontario