Academic journal article The American Midland Naturalist

Ontogeny of Larval Greater Redhorse (Moxostoma Valenciennesi)

Academic journal article The American Midland Naturalist

Ontogeny of Larval Greater Redhorse (Moxostoma Valenciennesi)

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT.-Adult greater redhorse Moxostoma valenciennesi, were seined from the Grand River, Ontario, and artificially spawned in May 1997 and May 1998. Eggs hatched after 6-8 d at a mean temperature of 19 C. Eggs and larval development of 9-22-mm specimens are described. Ontogeny of larval greater redhorse was compared to that of other syncopic Moxostoma species from previously published studies, including river redhorse (M. carinatum), black redhorse (M. duquesnei), golden redhorse (M. erythrurum), shorthead redhorse (M. macrolepidotum), copper redhorse (M. hubbsi) and spotted sucker (Minytrema melanops). There was significant overlap between most meristic variables that were compared. However, the majority of greater redhorse (up to 18-mm) have myomere counts (27-33 pre-anal myomeres, 9-10 postanal myomeres and 39-42 total myomeres) that are different from other sympatric redhorse species and spotted suckers and may allow identification of greater redhorse as small as 9-mm.


Ontogenetic development of the catostomid fishes has received increased attention since the publication of comprehensive studies by Buynak and Mohr (1977, 1978a, b, c, 1979), Fuiman (1979) and Fuiman and Whitman (1979). Kay et al. (1994) reviewed the early life history of catostomids in the Ohio River drainage, but reported no descriptions of early life history of greater redhorse Moxostoma valenciennesi. They noted that this species has not been included in early-stage taxonomic keys due to a general lack of information. With the exception of a report by Gendron and Branchaud (1991) that compares eggs, larvae and juveniles of greater redhorse with those of copper redhorse (M. hubbsi), very little information exists on early life history of this species. The greater redhorse is found in lakes and rivers of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River basin (with the exception of Lake Superior), as well as the northern portion of the Ohio River, upper Mississippi River, the Red River of the North drainages, the upper Illinois River and the upper Iroquois River in Indiana (Kay et al., 1994; R. E. Jenkins, pers. comm.). Greater redhorse arc a targeted food fish by some anglers and an important component in fluvial fish communities (Bunt and Cooke, 2001).

The Grand River, a tributary of Lake Erie in Ontario, supports large populations of greater redhorse along with at least six other catostomid species. Descriptions of early life history are available for white sucker (Catostomus commersoni, Manuseti and Hardy, 1967; Fuiman and Whitman, 1979; Buynak and Mohr, 1978c), northern hog sucker (Hypentelium nigricans, Buynak and Mohr, 1978a; Fuiman, 1979), shorthead redhorse (Moxostoma macrolepidotum, Buynak and Mohr, 1979), golden redhorse (M. erythrurum, Fuiman and Whitman, 1979), black redhorse (M. duquesnei, Kay et al., 1994) and river redhorse (M. carinatum, Kay et al., 1994), but not for greater redhorse. Life history aspects of adult greater redhorse, including spawning habitat and behavior and post-spawn movement, habitat and behavior, have been recently described (Cooke and Bunt, 1999; Bunt and Cooke, 2001). These studies complement earlier descriptions of greater redhorse reproductive behaviour in the St. Lawrence River by Jenkins andjenkins (1980). The aim of this study is to describe the early stages of development of greater redhorse and to identify diagnostic characters to distinguish larvae of this species from other syntopic catostomids.


Greater redhorse spawning was observed in the Grand River, Ontario, during May of each year from 1995-1998. Ripe greater redhorse were seined from known spawning locations, 800 m downstream from the Mannheim Weir (43°25'N, 80°25'W) and then artificially spawned on 31 May 1997 (river temperature 15 C) and 5 May 1998 (river temperature 16 C). Details of greater redhorse spawning sites in the Grand River are reported in Bunt et al. (1998) and Cooke and Bunt (1999). Eggs and larvae were reared in an aerated aquarium with gravel substrate, similar to that found on spawning riffles, at temperatures between 16 and 19 C. …

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