, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 48-61

Morphological variations in bluegill, Lepomis macrochirus, with particular emphasis on growth-related changes

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Abstract

Morphological variations in bluegill, Lepomis macrochirus, including growth-related changes, sexual dimorphism and morphological differences between populations in different habitats, were examined in samples from three reservoirs in Kagawa, Japan. Body measurements demonstrated frequent growth-related proportional changes, particularly in body depth, body width, caudal peduncle length and head length, which all showed relative increases, whereas first dorsal fin length, caudal fin length and orbital diameter became relatively shorter. Body weight increased relatively with growth, with relative growth coefficients of 3.339–3.454 for regressions between total length and body weight. Such body weight increases were likely due to the relative increases in body depth and width, and caudal peduncle depth. Although counts of fin spines, fin rays and gill rakers did not change with growth, those of scales tended to increase. Males were significantly larger than females in body depth, caudal peduncle length, head length and body weight. Sexual dimorphism was also apparent in body coloration during the breeding season. In addition, a number of morphological differences were observed between individuals from different habitats.