Reproductive condition and occurrence of intersex in bighead carp and silver carp in the Missouri River
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Little is known about the reproductive biology of the exotic bighead carp Hypophthalmichthys nobilis and silver carp Hypophthalmichthys molitrix in the Missouri River. In order to fill this gap in understanding, herein is described the reproductive condition of these Asian carps. Evidence is presented which indicates that bighead and silver carp in the Missouri River have a protracted spawning period that extends from early spring through fall and some individual bighead and silver carp are spawning multiple times during a reproductive season. Although bighead and silver carps are successfully maturing and spawning in the Missouri River some reproductive abnormalities such as intersex, atresia, and sterility were observed. Knowledge of the reproductive activity of these invasive carps may be useful to resource managers tasked with their control. Furthermore, the reproductive abnormalities observed should be considered when evaluating the environmental condition of the Missouri River relative to supporting a healthy fish fauna.
Key wordsbighead carp intersex Missouri River reproduction silver carp
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