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Alternative method of removing otoliths from sturgeon

July 25, 2016

Extracting the otoliths (ear bones) from fish that have very thick skulls can be difficult and very time consuming. The common practice of making a transverse vertical incision on the top of the skull with a hand or electrical saw may damage the otolith if not performed correctly. Sturgeons (Acipenseridae) are one family in particular that have a very large and thick skull. A new laboratory method entering the brain cavity from the ventral side of the fish to expose the otoliths was easier than other otolith extraction methods found in the literature. Methods reviewed in the literature are designed for the field and are more efficient at processing large quantities of fish quickly. However, this new technique was designed to be more suited for a laboratory setting when time is not pressing and successful extraction from each specimen is critical. The success of finding and removing otoliths using this technique is very high and does not compromise the structure in any manner. This alternative technique is applicable to other similar fish species for extracting the otoliths.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2016
Title Alternative method of removing otoliths from sturgeon
DOI 10.3791/54316
Authors Marc A. Chalupnicki, Dawn E. Dittman
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Visualized Experiments
Series Number
Index ID 70174963
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Great Lakes Science Center