Florida gar, Lepisosteus platyrhincus DeKay, were sampled in two canal systems in south Florida during 2000-2001 to estimate age, growth and mortality as part of the Everglades ecosystem-restoration effort. Tamiami (C-4) and L-31W canal systems had direct connections to natural wetlands of the Everglades and harboured large Florida gar populations. Of 476 fish aged, maximum ages were 19 and 10years for females and males, respectively. Maximum sizes were also larger for females compared with males (817 vs 602 mm total length). Overall, female Florida gar from both Tamiami and L-31W were larger at age than males from L-31W that, in turn, were larger at any given age than males from Tamiami. Females also had lower rates of annual mortality (Z = 0.21) than males from L-31W (Z = 0.31) or males from Tamiami (Z = 0.54). As a large and long-lived apex predator in the Everglades, Florida gar may structure lower trophic levels. Regional- and sex-specific population parameters for Florida gar will contribute to the simulation models designed to evaluate Everglades restoration alternatives. ?? 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Additional publication details
Age, differential growth and mortality rates in unexploited populations of Florida gar, an apex predator in the Florida Everglades