Spawning Sequence of Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, and Gizzard Shad

The effect of body size on the temporal spawning sequence of female largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), and gizzard shad (Dorosoma cepedianum) was examined in 2 Mississippi reservoirs by monitoring gonadal development through portions of the spawning seasons. Largemouth bass began spawning in late March when water temperature was near 15° C, gizzard shad in about mid-April at temperatures nearing 17° C, and bluegill in late April when temperatures reached 21° C; however, spawning seasons of the 3 species overlapped. Ovarian activity of largemouth bass and gizzard shad suggest strongly that the larger females spawned earlier than smaller ones, but the evidence in bluegill was weaker. Considering that the spawning season of the bass and 2 prey species overlapped, the bass that were spawned earliest and parented by the largest females in the population were larger and more likely to begin eating shad and bluegill earlier in life.

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