Salvelinus namaycush spawning substratum attracts egg predators and opportunists through chemosensory cues

Authors

  • B. A. Wasylenko,

    1. Department of Biology, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Canada
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  • D. T. Callaghan,

    1. Experimental Lakes Area, 501 University Crescent, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Winnipeg, Canada
    2. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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  • P. J. Blanchfield,

    1. Experimental Lakes Area, 501 University Crescent, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Winnipeg, Canada
    2. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
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  • G. G. Pyle

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biology, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Canada
    2. Department of Biological Sciences, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Canada
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Abstract

Two separate field experiments were conducted in a series of small boreal lakes to test for the attraction of egg predators to lake trout Salvelinus namaycush spawning shoals and subsequently to determine whether chemosensory cues attract egg predators to these sites. In the first experiment, minnow traps set on spawning sites captured significantly more egg predators than those set on structurally similar non-spawning sites. Captures of slimy sculpin Cottus cognatus, common shiner Luxilus cornutus, blacknose shiner Notropis heterolepis and virile crayfish Orconectes virilis were more than double on spawning sites relative to non-spawning sites for the two study lakes. To test whether chemosensory cues could attract egg predators to S. namaycush spawning sites, paired minnow traps were placed on eight to 10 sites in each of the three study lakes; one trap contained visually concealed S. namaycush spawning substratum and the other with visually concealed non-spawning substratum. Traps containing spawning substratum consistently captured more fish and had higher mean daily catches than those that contained non-spawning substratum. The combined results demonstrate a greater prevalence of egg predators on S. namaycush spawning shoals that appears to be the result of chemosensory attraction to spawning substratum.

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