Reproduction and early-life accommodations of landlocked alewives to a southern range extension

Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
By:  and 



Reproduction and first-year growth and food habits of landlocked alewives Alosa pseudoharengus in Claytor Lake, Virginia were examined and compared to descriptions for populations in the species' established New England-Great Lakes range. Alewives in mesothermal (2–27 C) Claytor Lake are shorter-lived (3 years) but grow faster, mature earlier (age 1), and have higher relative and absolute fecundities than have been reported for populations in colder northern waters. The 1979 spawning period extended from early May to early August, beginning at least 1 month earlier and lasting 4–9 weeks longer than in northern lakes. Changes in ovary condition during the spawning period suggest that alewives may be fractional spawners. Evidence of spawning was found in littoral areas throughout the lower 15 km of the reservoir. Growth in length of age-0 Claytor Lake alewives was linear through September and terminated in late autumn. Total first-year growth was reduced in 1979 (maximum of 130 mm total length, TL) from previous years (average of 160 mm TL), although it was substantially greater than recorded in the Great Lakes and the northeastern United States. The longer growing season, rather than accelerated in-season growth, appears to account for larger size achieved in Claytor Lake. High annual growth limits predation by Claytor Lake game fish on early spawned age-0 alewives by late summer. As elsewhere, larval and juvenile alewives (6–70 mm TL) fed primarily on copepods and cladocerans. Age-0 alewives longer than 35 mm TL demonstrated positive size-selection for cyclopoid copepods comparable to that shown by adults. Our findings suggest that self-sustaining alewife populations can be established in many inland waters but raise concerns regarding their forage value and community impacts.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Reproduction and early-life accommodations of landlocked alewives to a southern range extension
Series title Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
DOI 10.1577/1548-8659(1982)111<559:RAEAOL>2.0.CO;2
Volume 111
Issue 5
Year Published 1982
Language English
Publisher American Fisheries Society
Contributing office(s) Western Fisheries Research Center
Description 11 p.
First page 559
Last page 569
Country United States
State Virginia
Other Geospatial Claytor Lake, Great Lakes, New England