Life history attributes of white sucker (Catostomus commersoni) in Lake Taneycomo and associated tributaries in Southwestern Missouri


Spawning season of the white sucker (Catostomus commersoni) in tributaries of Lake Taneycomo, a coldwater reservoir of the White River system in southwestern Missouri, lasted from early April to late May in 1994 and 1995. Collection of fish larvae and spawning activities of adult white sucker indicated that spawning occurred in all tributaries of the lake. We did not observe evidence of spawning in the lake. White suckers began to mature at age 3 and a total length of 275 mm. A larger proportion of males matured at an earlier age and length, but females lived longer and reached larger sizes. Mortality rates were higher for mature males than females. Both sexes exhibited high mortality after age 8. Females were more abundant than males (1.94 to 6.50: 1 F:M) in the upper lake throughout the year, while males were more abundant in Bull Creek (0.27 to 0.30:1 F:M), a major tributary, during the spawning season. Fecundity increased with fish size, ranging from approximately 5,000 to 59,000 eggs. Growth of white sucker continued throughout life, but slowed dramatically after maturation. Although this southern population in the Lake Taneycomo system spawned earlier than reported for most northern populations, its demographic attributes (age and length at maturity, fecundity, gonadosomatic index, fecundity, condition, and growth rates) were within ranges reported for other white sucker populations.



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Southwestern Naturalist