Age, growth, and size of Lake Superior Pygmy Whitefish (Prosopium coulterii)

American Midland Naturalist
By: , and 



Pygmy Whitefish (Prosopium coulterii) are a small, glacial relict species with a disjunct distribution in North America and Siberia. In 2013 we collected Pygmy Whitefish at 28 stations from throughout Lake Superior. Total length was recorded for all fish and weight and sex were recorded and scales and otoliths were collected from a subsample. We compared the precision of estimated ages between readers and between scales and otoliths, estimated von Bertalanffy growth parameters for male and female Pygmy Whitefish, and reported the first weight-length relationship for Pygmy Whitefish. Age estimates between scales and otoliths differed significantly with otolith ages significantly greater for most ages after age-3. Maximum otolith age was nine for females and seven for males, which is older than previously reported for Pygmy Whitefish from Lake Superior. Growth was initially fast but slowed considerably after age-3 for males and age-4 for females, falling to 3–4 mm per year at maximum estimated ages. Females were longer than males after age-3. Our results suggest the size, age, and growth of Pygmy Whitefish in Lake Superior have not changed appreciably since 1953.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Age, growth, and size of Lake Superior Pygmy Whitefish (Prosopium coulterii)
Series title American Midland Naturalist
DOI 10.1674/amid-175-01-24-36.1
Volume 175
Issue 1
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher University of Notre Dame
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 13 p.
First page 24
Last page 36
Country United States
Other Geospatial Lake Superior
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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