The reproductive success of pike, Esox lucius, aspects of fecundity, egg density and survival.

Author Wright, R.M. & Shoesmith, E.A.
Citation Wright, R.M. & Shoesmith, E.A. (1988). The reproductive success of pike, Esox lucius, aspects of fecundity, egg density and survival. Journal of Fish Biology, 33: 623-636.

Abstract

Power-law relationships have been estimated between fecundity and fish length, weight and age for pike from two gravel pit lakes (Main Lake and St Peter's Lake) in Buckinghamshire, England. Relative fecundity, estimated at 17.6 eggs g−1 for Main Lake pike and 19.4 g−1 for St Peter's Lake pike, did not differ significantly between the lakes. Population fecundity for the Main Lake was estimated at 10.6 million eggs and 6.4 million eggs in 1986 and 1987, respectively.

Experimental work involving samples of eggs from 18 artificially fertilized Main Lake female pike showed a significant relationship between egg diameter and female length, and a significant difference between mean egg diameters for 41-cm and 101-cm females. No significant relationships were found between mean egg size and mean fry size, nor between fry length and adult length. Mean size differences between newly hatched, 18-day-old and 41-day-old fry from the 41-cm and 101-cm females were not significant.

Samples of eggs taken at 2-day intervals from 6 April to 5 May in a pike spawning area of the Main Lake revealed clumped distributions of eggs, with average egg densities ranging from 1 to 47 eggs per 0.071 m2 (14–671 m 2) on sand and silt substrata. The maximum egg density of 51 per 0.071 m2 (729 m−2) was found on flooded grass. The stages of development of the eggs were identified over the sampling period. Survival from stage 1 to fry was estimated at 3–6%. Egg losses were estimated at 9–10% day−1.

Egg survival experiments gave overall hatching success rates of 11 % on sand/silt compared with 2.5% on aquatic plants (1986), and 18.9% on undisturbed sand/silt compared with 7.9% on disturbed sand/silt (1987). The effect of siltation on egg hatching is discussed.

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