Theses and Dissertations


Title: Some factors affecting the reproduction of the chain pickerel, Esox niger Lesueur, in ponds

Name: DeJean, James Allen

Degree: MS

Chair: Dr. John S. Dendy

Resides: FAA Library

University: Auburn

Location: Auburn, Alabama

Date: 1951

Pages: 60

Keywords: Pickerel,Chain pickerel,Esox niger,Reproduction,Temperature,Food habits.

Abstract:

The chain pickerel, Esox niger Lesueur, reproduced successfully when stocked with no other species of fish in ponds ranging in size from 0.08 to 1.6 acres, indicating that size of pond had little effect upon reproduction. The chain pickerel reproduced equally well in ponds with maximum depths of two and of eight feet and as well in still water ponds is in those fed by streams. Vegetation or special bottom requirements did not appear to be necessary for successful reproduction. Pickerel failed to reproduce when confined in small concrete ponds or in wire pens placed in earthen ponds. The chain pickerel did not reproduce successfully when stocked in a 2.2 acre pond with bluegill, Lepomis macrochirus Rafinesque, and warmouth, Chaenobryttus coronarius (Bartram). Only six young pickerel were recovered by draining the pond. The eggs and larval stages of the pickerel were not found, and direct evidence as to the factor or factors preventing successful reproduction is lacking. The works of various authors, however, indicate that the bluegill fed upon the eggs and young of the pickerel.Attempts to determine the sex of sexually mature pickerel by external characteristics were unsuccessful. It was possible to determine the sex of fish during the month of January and February by partial stripping. Spawning did not occur before the water temperature reached 60oF. at a depth of one foot. Young pickerel approximately one-inch in length were found during the months of January and March. The smallest female examined which contained well developed eggs and ovaries weighed 42 grams. The smallest male examined which contained well developed testes weighed 72 grams. The stomachs of the 531 pickerel examined contained 58 pickerel. No pickerel smaller than 18 millimeters in total length were examined. Zooplankton were found in the stomachs of pickerel which ranged in total length from 18 to 75 millimeters: insects were found in the stomachs of pickerel which ranged in total length from 19 to 243 millimeters: fish were found in the stomachs of pickerel which ranged in total length from 32 millimeters to maturity.

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