Racial differences in eggs and juveniles of Windermere charr, Salvelinus alpinus

Authors

  • E. Baroudy,

    1. NERC Institute of Freshwater Ecology, The Windermere Laboratory, Far Sawrey, Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 0LP, U.K.
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  • J. M. Elliott

    Corresponding author
    1. NERC Institute of Freshwater Ecology, The Windermere Laboratory, Far Sawrey, Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 0LP, U.K.
      *Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
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*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.

Abstract

At least four races of charr occur in Windermere, the largest natural lake in England: north basin and south basin autumn spawners, north basin and south basin spring spawners. This study examines racial differences between eggs and juveniles, and relates juvenile size and survival to egg size. There were no major differences between races for egg incubation times and the percentage of eggs hatching successfully, the latter being high (mean values 76–96%) with a negligible proportion of abnormal alevins (<0.8%). Although there were no significant differences in the lengths of the female parents, both eggs and alevins were significantly larger for the autumn spawners than the spring spawners. Size differences in alevins, especially live weight, were positively related to egg size but not female parent size. Mean percentage survival for juveniles attaining the independent feeding stage was higher for the progeny of autumn spawners (32%) than spring spawners (3%). Racial differences in the egg and alevin stages therefore appear to have a significant effect on subsequent survival, and could be ultimately responsible for the relatively small proportion of spring spawners (only 4–6%) in the Windermere population of charr.

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