Physical and hormonal examination of Missouri River shovelnose sturgeon reproductive stage: a reference guide


Author's address: Mark L. Wildhaber, U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center, 4200 New Haven Road, Columbia, MO 65201, USA.


From May 2001 to June 2002 Wildhaber et al. (2005) conducted monthly sampling of Lower Missouri River shovelnose sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus) to develop methods for determination of sex and the reproductive stage of sturgeons in the field. Shovelnose sturgeon were collected from the Missouri River and ultrasonic and endoscopic imagery and blood and gonadal tissue samples were taken. The full set of data was used to develop monthly reproductive stage profiles for S. platorynchus that could be compared to data collected on pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus). This paper presents a comprehensive reference set of images, sex steroids, and vitellogenin (VTG, an egg protein precursor) data for assessing shovelnose sturgeon sex and reproductive stage. This reference set includes ultrasonic, endoscopic, histologic, and internal images of male and female gonads of shovelnose sturgeon at each reproductive stage along with complementary data on average 17-β estradiol, 11-ketotestosterone, VTG, gonadosomatic index, and polarization index.