Localization and seasonal variation of blue pigment (sandercyanin) in walleye (Sander vitreus)

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
By: , and 

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Abstract

Several fish species, including the walleye (Sander vitreus), have “yellow” and “blue” color morphs. In S. vitreus, one source of the blue color has been identified as a bili-binding protein pigment (sandercyanin), found in surface mucus of the fish. Little is known about the production of the pigment or about its functions. We examined the anatomical localization and seasonal variation of sandercyanin in S. vitreus from a population in McKim Lake, northwestern Ontario, Canada. Skin sections were collected from 20 fish and examined histologically. Mucus was collected from 306 fish over 6 years, and the amount of sandercyanin was quantified spectrophotometrically. Sandercyanin was found solely on dorsal surfaces of the fish and was localized to novel cells in the epidermis, similar in appearance to secretory sacciform cells. Sandercyanin concentrations were significantly higher in fish collected in summer versus other seasons. Yellow and blue morphs did not differ in amounts of sandercyanin, suggesting that the observed blue color, in fact, arises from lack of yellow pigmentation in blue morphs. The function of the sandercyanin remains unclear, but roles in photoprotection and countershading are consistent with available data.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Localization and seasonal variation of blue pigment (sandercyanin) in walleye (Sander vitreus)
Series title Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
DOI 10.1139/cjfas-2014-0139
Volume 72
Issue 2
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Canadian Science Publishing
Contributing office(s) Leetown Science Center
Description 9 p.
First page 281
Last page 289
Country Canada
State Ontario
Other Geospatial McKim Lake
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N