Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Hawaii
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Grabowski TB, Young SP, JJ Isely, & PC Ely. 2012. Age, growth, and reproductive biology of catostomid species from the Apalachicola River, Florida. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 3(2):223-237. doi: 10.3996/012012-JFWM-008


Riverine catostomids can show a wide range of interspecific variation in life history characteristics. Understanding these differences is an important consideration in evaluating the sensitivity of these fishes to disturbance and in formulating effective conservation strategies, particularly when dealing with an assemblage consisting of multiple species within a watershed. We collected Apalachicola redhorse Moxostoma n. sp. cf. poecilurum (n = 125), spotted sucker Minytrema melanops (n = 94), and quillback Carpiodes cyprinus (n = 94) to determine age, growth and reproductive biology of spawning catostomids in the Apalachicola River. Quillback was the smallest in total length at age; longest-lived; most fecund; and produced the smallest eggs. Apalachicola redhorse was the largest in body size; had an intermediate life span; and produced the fewest yet largest eggs. Spotted sucker was more similar to Apalachicola redhorse in most characteristics. Growth during ages 1-3 in all three species seemed to be negatively related to the proportion of observations of extreme flow, both high (Q90) and low (Q10), per year and a positive response in growth rate to high flows (>Q75 but < Q90). However, Apalachicola redhorse and spotted sucker growth was more sensitive to flow conditions than that of quillback. Our results suggest the life histories and ecological response of Apalachicola River catostomids to flow regulation are important components for developing strategies that incorporate the needs of these fishery resources into an ecosystem-based management approach.