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Keywords:

  • spatio-temporal variations;
  • trade-off;
  • canopy;
  • egg size;
  • female length;
  • growth rate;
  • water temperature

Abstract – The size of 2-month old trout Salmo trutta parr differed between sites and between years along the River Esva catchment (Asturias, northwestern Spain). Such variation was in a direction opposite to the variation observed in parental size. Parr were smaller in sites where parents grew faster, whereas larger parr occurred in sites where parents grew less. Parr size of six cohorts (1990–1996, except 1995) at 14 sites along the River Esva was inversely related to the growth rate and length of parents and positively related to canopy, egg size, and water temperature. The latter acted similarly on all parr independently of egg size and the site where the egg originated. Covariation patterns among parr size, parental traits, and canopy suggest that a canopy-regulated, growth-determined trade-off between egg size and number, previously described for the Esva trout, also extends to alevin size. In forested, shaded sites, adult trout grew less and spawned fewer larger eggs that resulted in larger alevins, whereas in fully insolated, production-rich sites, trout grew faster and spawned higher numbers of smaller eggs that produced smaller parr. I hypothesize that the phenotypic plasticity illustrated by the environmentally induced trade-off between egg size and number further extended to alevin size may be evolutionarily advantageous because it relates the size of trout alevins to food availability, as predicted by the growth previously experienced by parents.NOTE