North American sturgeon otolith morphology

Copeia
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Abstract

Accurate expedient species identification of deceased sturgeon (Acipenseridae) when external physical characteristic analysis is inconclusive has become a high priority due to the endangered or threatened status of sturgeon species around the world. Examination of otoliths has provided useful information to aid in population management, age and size-class analysis, understanding predator–prey interactions, and archeological research in other fish species. The relationship between otolith characteristics and sturgeon species has remained unknown. Therefore, we analyzed the shape of otoliths from the eight species of sturgeon found in North America to test the utility of otolith characteristic morphology in species identification. There were distinct differences in the size and shape of the otoliths between species of sturgeon with little shape variation among individuals of the same species. The relationship between otolith length axes was linear, and most of the variability was explained by a Log (axis + 1) transformation of the x and y axes (r2 = 0.8983) using the equation y = 0.73x + 0.0612. Images of otoliths from all eight North American species are presented to assist in the identification process.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title North American sturgeon otolith morphology
Series title Copeia
DOI 10.1643/CI-14-076
Volume 104
Issue 1
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 7 p.
First page 260
Last page 266
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N