Sturgeons have a complex free-embryo period extending from hatch to the initiation of exogenous feeding. Although available for some sturgeon species of the genus Acipenser, descriptions of the developmental stages of free embryos of the genus Scaphirhynchus are lacking. We characterised the ontogenetic development of pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) and shovelnose sturgeon (S. platorynchus) free embryos from hatch through melanin plug expulsion. The rate of development was similar between Scaphirhynchus species among free embryos from 4 pallid sturgeon and 7 shovelnose sturgeon crosses reared separately in the laboratory at a mean temperature of 17.8°C. Free embryos required a mean of 18.2 days postfertilisation (DPF; 323.5 cumulative thermal units; CTU) to reach melanin plug expulsion for pallid sturgeon and 17.9 DPF (318.3 CTU) for shovelnose sturgeon. Free embryos of both species showed overlap in lengths among developmental stages indicating that length of free embryos alone is insufficient to estimate age. Description of pallid sturgeon and shovelnose sturgeon free-embryo development provides a template to develop more sophisticated models incorporating length and stage to estimate the age of field-collected specimens. Improved estimates of free-embryo developmental stage and age may aid in the identification of timing and location of spawning and better inform flow manipulation and habitat management actions tailored to increase survival of early life-stage pallid sturgeon.
|Title||Ontogenetic development of pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) and shovelnose sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus) from hatch through yolk absorption|
|Authors||Kimberly Chojnacki, Marlene J Dodson, Amy E. George, James Candrl, Aaron J. Delonay|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Ecology of Freshwater Fish|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Columbia Environmental Research Center|