Influence of sex, body size, and reproduction on overwinter lipid depletion in brook trout


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Expressed as percentages of total fresh body weight, lipids of brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis declined between October and April: reproductive males from 2·89 to 1·22%, reproductive females from 3·19 to 1·84%, and non-reproductive males and females from 2·75 to 2·08%. The absolute and proportional overwinter reduction in lipids among reproductive trout was more than twice that of non-reproductive trout, with reproductive males losing significantly more lipids than reproductive females. Larger reproductive individuals lost more lipids during winter, relative to body size, than smaller individuals, although such an effect was not evident among non-reproductive trout. The average overwinter reduction in lipids for reproductive males (58%), females (42%), and non-reproductive trout (24%) was negatively associated with mark-recapture estimates of overwinter survival probabilities of 0·27, 0·36, and 0·58, respectively, providing support for the hypothesis that energy is allocated to reproduction to the detriment of post-reproductive survival. Our emergent hypothesis that reproductive costs differ between sexes, and the life history consequences thereof, merit further study.