Potential consequences of angling on nest-site fidelity in largemouth bass
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Breeding site fidelity has evolved in many vertebrate taxa, suggesting both that site selection has an important influence on fitness potential and that the decision to reuse a nesting site is related to the individual’s prior nesting success at that location. For a species that provides parental care, such as the Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides, catch-and-release angling impacts individual nesting success and fitness through physiological disturbance and by removing the nest-guarding male from its brood, thereby allowing temporary access to eggs and hatchlings by brood predators. To assess the impact of catch-and-release angling on nest site fidelity, we compared the consequences of angling on individually marked (i.e., with passive integrated transponders) nest-guarding male Largemouth Bass in Ontario. An extremely high degree of nest site fidelity in year two was observed for males that were angled only once during year one (87% within 10 m of the previous year’s nest), 96.7% of which remained on the nest and completed parental care activities. There was significantly lower fidelity in year two, however, for males that were angled multiple times during year one (27% within 10m of the previous year’s nest), only 5.6% of which remained on the nest and completed parental care activities. This observed difference suggests that angling nesting bass may cause them to avoid previously used nest sites and instead search for alternative sites during future reproductive seasons. This human-induced impact on nest site choice may impact the future reproductive success of those Largemouth Bass.
KeywordsLargemouth bass Nest site fidelity Angling
We thank A. Zolderdo, D. Algera, J. L. Monoghan, and E. Cooke for assistance in the field as well as the staff from the Queen’s University Biological Station. Funding was provided by NSERC (USRA to W. Twardek and DG to S. Cooke) with financial assistance from the Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration Project F69R to J. A. Stein. All research was conducted in accordance with the guidelines of the Canadian Council on Animal Care as administered by Carleton University and Queen’s University (B-15-08).
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