Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Life history of the spottail shiner (Notropis hudsonius) in southeastern Lake Michigan, the Kalamazoo River, and western Lake Erie

January 1, 1974

In southeastern Lake Michigan spottail shiners in samples ranged from ages 0 to V, but most were in age groups I-IV. In the Kalamazoo River (a tributary of southeastern Lake Michigan) age group II was commonest in the catches, and no fish older than age IV were sampled. In western Lake Erie, most shiners were in age groups 0-II, and none were older than age IV. Mortality of males was much higher than that of females after age II in Lake Michigan and after age I in Lake Erie. Growth of spottail shiners was fastest in western Lake Erie (125 mm at the end of the third year, sexes combined) and slowest (77 mm) in the Kalamazoo River; in all three waters growth declined rapidly after the first year. Females grew faster than males.
Young shiners started growing earlier in the year than older ones in all three waters. Males and females of the same age resumed growth at about the same time. The growing season began as early as mid-May in the Kalamazoo River and continued as late as September or early October in the other two waters. Small spottail shiners in Lake Michigan and the Kalamazoo River weighed about the same at a given length, but at lengths greater than about 100 mm the lake fish were heavier. In all three waters, spottail shiners matured at about the same length, and males at a somewhat smaller size than females. Smallest mature fish were 65-69 mm long, and the largest immatures were 80-84 mm. In Lake Michigan about half and in Lake Erie about three-quarters of age-I fish were mature, as were all age-II fish in both lakes. In the Kalamazoo River a few fish of age II and all of age III were mature. The spawning season in Lake Michigan in 1964 was from late June or early July to late July, whereas in 1972, which had a colder spring, spawning occurred from mid-July to late August or early September. All shiners in the Kalamazoo River had spawned by the end of June if 1964. Lake Erie spottail shiners spawned during early June to early or mid-July in 1958. Spottail shiners 87-143 mm long from the different waters contained 915 to 8,898 mature eggs.

Publication Year 1974
Title Life history of the spottail shiner (Notropis hudsonius) in southeastern Lake Michigan, the Kalamazoo River, and western Lake Erie
Authors LaRue Wells, Robert House
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Series Title Research Report
Series Number 78
Index ID 37137
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Great Lakes Science Center