The Kootenai River white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 1994 because several decades of failed spawning had put the population at risk of extinction. Natural spawning is known to occur at several locations in the Kootenai River, Idaho, but there is little natural recruitment. Microhabitat where embryo incubation occurs is known to be an important factor in white sturgeon reproductive success. This study was conducted to address questions regarding the suitability of different substrates as egg attachment and incubation sites for these fish. A comparative laboratory study using six types of incubation substrates—clean river rocks, periphyton- and algae-covered rocks, waterlogged wood, sand, riparian vegetation, and clean glass plates—tested the hypothesis that survival to hatch of white sturgeon eggs differs among incubation substrates. The results showed that sand was unsuitable as an incubation substrate, as the adhesive embryos were easily dislodged. Periphyton- and algae-covered rocks had the lowest hatch success, and all other substrates had similar hatch success.
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USGS Numbered Series
Effects of incubation substrates on hatch timing and success of White Sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) embryos