The general morphology and precision associated with age determination of statoliths from larval Pacific lampreys Lampetra tridentata and western brook lampreys L. richardsoni found within the Columbia River basin were examined. Significant positive correlations were observed between the size of left and right statoliths from individuals. Principal components analysis indicated an allometric relationship between lamprey length and statolith size as well as a potential species grouping based on these measurements. Discriminant analysis was able to correctly classify more than 94% of Pacific lampreys and 92% of western brook lampreys based on lamprey length and statolith size, and Pacific lamprey statoliths tended to be larger than western brook lamprey statoliths for lampreys of a given size. Reader bias in age estimates of statoliths was greater for older lampreys. Multiple independent age readings of both statoliths from individual lampreys indicated that the overall average percent error was 16.7% for Pacific lampreys and 33.0% for western brook lampreys. Within-individual average percent error ranged from 5.1% to 20.1% among species and readers. Within-reader average percent error ranged from 6.4% to 17.8% among species and readers. The average percent error observed in this study was greater than that observed in studies of other species of lampreys; however, statoliths that were ambiguous or difficult to read were not excluded from this study. In general, the modal separation of age-groups observed in length-frequency distributions for lampreys is poor, as seen in this study; therefore, statolith-based ages may verify or provide better estimates of population age structure. These data demonstrate that estimates of precision are necessary before management actions founded on statolith-based age structure determination are implemented. ?? Copyright by the American Fisheries Society 2005.
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Morphology and aging precision of statoliths from larvae of Columbia river basin lampreys