We measured the proximate composition (percentage lipid, water, fat-free dry material, ash) and caloric content of eight species of Lake Michigan fish: lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis), bloater (Coregonus hoyi), alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus), rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax), deepwater sculpin (Myoxocephalus quadricornis), and slimy sculpin (Cottus cognatus). Except for alewives, proximate composition and caloric content did not differ significantly between males and females. And, for coho salmon, there was no significant difference in composition between fish collected in different years. Lipid and caloric content of lake trout increased directly with age. In all species examined, lipids and caloric contents were significantly lower in small, presumably immature, fish than in larger, older fish. Lipid content of lake trout, lake whitefish, and bloaters (range of means, 16-22%) was nearly 3 times higher than that of coho salmon, sculpins, rainbow smelt, and alewives (range of means, 5.2-7.0%). The mean caloric content ranged from 6.9 to 7.1 kcal/g for species high in lipids and from 5.8 to 6.3 kcal/g for species low in lipids. Although the caloric content of all species varied directly with lipid content and inversely with water content, an increase in lipid content did not always coincide with a proportional increase in caloric content when other components of fish composition were essentially unchanged. This observation suggests that the energy content of fish estimated from the proximate composition by using universal conversion factors may not necessarily be accurate.
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Proximate composition and caloric content of eight Lake Michigan fishes