Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 73, Issue 4, pp 357–366 | Cite as

Phenotypic variation of walleye, Sander vitreus, in Canadian Shield lakes: New insights on percid polymorphism

  • Yves Paradis
  • Pierre MagnanEmail author


Literature on colour dimorphism in walleye has concerned only the blue form, Sander vitreus glaucum (formerly Stizostedion vitreum glaucum), historically found in lakes Erie and Ontario and considered to be extinct from the fish fauna since the 1960s. In this paper, we report unusual observations of a blue form of walleye living in sympatry with the yellow form, Sander vitreus (formerly Stizostedion vitreum), in five lakes of the Canadian Shield, northern Québec. We compared head morphology, diet, and growth of the two forms to determine if there are any variations in characteristics other than colour and to examine the potential adaptive value of the two phenotypes. The blue form has a significantly longer head than the yellow form but does not differ in diet; the blue form also exhibits slower growth. The existence of a blue form of walleye in lakes of the Canadian Shield provides new insights into percid polymorphism and gives important information about their occurrence outside the Great Lakes area.

Key words

colour polymorphism blue pike blue walleye morphology Stizostedion vitreum glaucum Stizostedion vitreum 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adams, C.E., Fraser, D., Huntingford, F.A., Greer, R.B., Askew, C.M., Walker, A.F. 1998Trophic polymorphism amongst Artic charr from Loch Rannoch, ScotlandJ. Fish Biol.5212591271Google Scholar
  2. Adamstone, F.B. 1922Rates of growth of the blue and yellow pike perch (Stizostedion vitreum) in Lake ErieUniversity of Toronto Studies Publications of the Ontario Fisheries Research Laboratory57786Google Scholar
  3. Babaluk, J.A., J.F. Craig & J.S. Campbell. 1993. Age and growth estimation of walleye, Stizostedion vitreum, using opercula. Canadian Manuscript Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 2183 pp.Google Scholar
  4. Campbell, R.R. 1987Status of the Blue Walleye, Stizostedion vitreum glaucum, in CanadaCan. Field Nat.101245252Google Scholar
  5. Carignan, R., D’Arcy, P., Lamontagne, S. 2000Comparative impacts of fire and forest harvesting on water quality in Boreal Shield lakesCan. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci.57105117Google Scholar
  6. Craig, J.F. 2000Percid Fishes: Systematics, Ecology and ExploitationFish and Aquatic Resources series 3Oxford368Google Scholar
  7. Deason, H.J. 1933Preliminary report on the growth rate, dominance, and maturity of the pike-perches (Stizostedion) of Lake ErieTrans. Am. Fish. Soc.63348360Google Scholar
  8. Dynes, J., Magnan, P., Bernatchez, L., Rodríguez, M.A. 1999Genetic and morphological variation between two forms of lacustrine brook charrJ. Fish Biol.54955972Google Scholar
  9. Fleming, I.A., Jonsson, B., Gross, M.R. 1994Phenotypic divergence of sea-ranched, farmed, and wild salmonCan. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci.5128082824Google Scholar
  10. Francis, R.I.C.C. 1990Back-calculation of fish length: a critical reviewJ. Fish Biol.36883902Google Scholar
  11. Fujii, R. 1993Colouration and chromatophoresEvans, D.H. eds. The Physiology of FishesCRC Marine Science SeriesFlorida535562Google Scholar
  12. Gatz, J.J.A. 1981Morphologically inferred niche differentiation in stream fishesAm. Midland Nat.1061021Google Scholar
  13. Hubbs, C.L., Lagler, K.F. 1964Fishes of the Great Lakes region2University of MichiganMichiganGoogle Scholar
  14. Hyslop, E.J. 1980Stomach contents analysis-a review of methods and their applicationJ. Fish Biol.17411429Google Scholar
  15. Kuhry, B., Marcus, L.F. 1977Bivariate linear models in biometrySyst. Zool.26201209Google Scholar
  16. Legendre, P., Legendre, L. 1998Numerical ecology, second editionDevelopments in Environmental ModellingElsevierAmsterdam853Google Scholar
  17. Murphy, B.R., Willis, D.W. 1996Fisheries Techniques Second EditionAmerican Fisheries SocietyMaryland732Google Scholar
  18. Paradis, Y. 2004Blue walleye in our lakes: a fisherman’s story or scientific reality?Fisheries (Bethesda)2939Google Scholar
  19. Pierce, C.L., Rasmussen, J.B., Leggett, W.C. 1996Back-calculation of fish length from scales: empirical comparison of proportional methodsTrans. Am. Fish. Soc.125889898Google Scholar
  20. Proulx, R., Magnan, P. 2002Physiological performance of two forms of lacustrine brook charr, Salvelinus fontinalis, in the open-water habitatEnviron. Biol. Fishes64127136Google Scholar
  21. Reist, J.D. 1986An empirical evaluation of coefficients used in residual and allometric adjustment of size covariationCan. J. Zool.6413631368Google Scholar
  22. Robinson, B.W., Wilson, D.S. 1994Character release and displacement in fishes: a neglected literatureAm. Nat.144596627Google Scholar
  23. Robinson, B.W., Wilson, D.S., Margosian, A.S. 2000A pluralistic analyses of character release in pumpkinseed sunfish (Lepomis Gibbosus)Evolution8127992812Google Scholar
  24. Schluter, D. 1995Adaptive radiation in sticklebacks: trade-offs in feeding performance and growthEcology768290Google Scholar
  25. Schluter, D., McPhail, J.D. 1993Character displacement and replicate adaptive radiationTrends Ecol. Evol.8197200Google Scholar
  26. Scott, W.B., Crossman, E.J. 1973Freshwater Fishes of CanadaBulletin 184Fisheries Research Board of Canada966Google Scholar
  27. Skúlason, S., Smith, T.B. 1995Resource polymorphisms in vertebratesTrends Ecol. Evol.10366370Google Scholar
  28. Skúlason, S., Snorrason, S.S., Noakes, D.L.G., Ferguson, M.M., Malmquist, H.J. 1989Segregation in spawning and early life history among polymorphic Arctic charr, Salvelinus alpinus, in Thingvallavatn, IcelandJ. Fish Biol.35225232Google Scholar
  29. Stone, F.L. 1948. A study on the taxonomy of the blue and yellow pike-perch (Stizostedion) of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. Ph. D. thesis. University of Rochester, Rochester, 164 pp.Google Scholar
  30. Svanbäck, R., Eklöv, P. 2002Effects of habitat and food resources on morphology and ontogenetic growth trajectories in perchOecologia1316170Google Scholar
  31. Wing, J.F., Glazier, D.J. 1991Cycles in Lake Erie populations of the Blue Walleye, Stizostedion vitreum glaucum, for the years 1915–1959Ohio J. Sci.9175Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Groupe de recherche sur les écosystèmes aquatiquesUniversité du Québec à Trois-RivièresQuébecCanada

Personalised recommendations