Performance Comparison between Coppemose and Native Texas Bluegill Populations

Growth, survival, and catchability of non-native coppernose bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus purpurescens) were compared to that of common bluegill (L. macrochirus) from East (Neches River system) and West (Rio Grande system) Texas populations. The 3 types of bluegills were stocked together (each identifiable by coded-wire tags) into 4 0.25- ha hatchery ponds. Bluegill types were evaluated with and without an established fish community present at age 1 and 2. Coppernose bluegill were larger (i.e., length and weight) than East or West Texas bluegills, regardles of fish community presence. Coppernose bluegill y-o-y survival was higher than East or West Texas bluegills in the presence of a fish community. Survival did not differ among bluegill types regardless of fish community presence in age 2. Catchability was similar among bluegill types, except for lower catchability of age-2 coppernose bluegill without a fish community present. Coppernose bluegill might improve quality of selected fisheries because of their larger sizes. However, any management plan should weigh merits of bluegill type selection before introduction.

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