Age and Growth of Middle Mississippi River Smallmouth Buffalo
Smallmouth buffalo (Ictiobus bubalus (Rafinesque)) are an important component of the Middle Mississippi River commercial fishery. Despite their commercial importance, limited contemporary information is available regarding population age and growth. Therefore, the objective of this study was to determine age and growth of Middle Mississippi River smallmouth buffalo. To fulfill this objective, 125 individuals collected during routine Long-Term Resource Monitoring element hoop net surveys were aged via lapilli otoliths (mean age = 17.9 years; SD = 8.3), and a von Bertalanffy growth model (Lt = 730.289[1 - e-0.086(t-5.051)]) was used to evaluate growth. Our results indicate Middle Mississippi River smallmouth buffalo can achieve maximum ages beyond 20 y despite commercial harvest. Ultimately, we hope our results catalyze future research which seeks to understand other aspects of smallmouth buffalo biology and ecology.