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Energy allocation patterns in a multiple spawning sunfish: evidence for an income-based reproductive strategy

Authors

  • J. S. Beuchel,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
    Current affiliation:
    1. College of Arts and Sciences, Triton College, River Grove, IL, USA
    • Correspondence: Joseph S. Beuchel, College of Arts and Sciences, Triton College, 2000 Fifth Ave., River Grove, IL, 60171, USA

      (e-mail: jbeuchel@triton.edu)

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  • E. A. Marschall,

    1. Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
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  • D. D. Aday

    1. Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA
    Current affiliation:
    1. Department of Applied Ecology, 127 David Clark Laboratory, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA
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Abstract

Timing of reproduction is an important life-history trait that varies among species as a function of energy allocation strategy, particularly as individuals are influenced by seasonal variations prior to and during the reproductive season. This study investigated size- and sex-based seasonal patterns of energy allocation in bluegill, Lepomis macrochirus (Rafinesque), a species that spawns repeatedly throughout the summer, by quantifying gonad, liver and mesenteric fat masses. Results indicate that bluegill delay production of gonad tissue until the onset of the spawning season and use an ‘income spawning’ approach. Comparisons of energetic trends with crappies, Pomoxis annularis (Rafinesque) and P. nigromaculatus (Lesueur), a confamilial species of relatively similar size and morphology that spawns in the spring, highlight the flexibility of energy allocation patterns even among relatively similar fishes and shed light on bluegill life-history strategies.

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