Size-based variation in somatic energy reserves and parental expenditure by male smallmouth bass, Micropterus dolomieu

  • Robert W. Mackereth
  • David L. G. Noakes
  • Mark S. Ridgway
Part of the Developments in environmental biology of fishes book series (DEBF, volume 19)


Male smallmouth bass show size-based variation in both probability and timing of reproduction. The objective of this research was to determine seasonal and size-based patterns of depletion of energy reserves and determine if parental defense is related to males’ energy reserves. We sampled male smallmouth bass in the spring, during the parental care period and in the fall to measure energy reserves (lipid stores in muscle and viscera tissue) over a two year period. Energy stores, which were not built up before nesting, declined to a minimum level by the end of the parental care period. Small males had consistently lower energy reserves than larger males and did not utilize these reserves at the same rate during the parental care period. All parental males complimented endogenous energy reserves by feeding during parental care, however, small males appear to rely proportionately more on exogenous energy intake than do larger males. Parental defense by all sizes of males declined over the parental care period, the decline being the most obvious by small males. Small males’ lower energy budget may make them less effective parents and decrease their probability of survival over the following winter relative to larger males.

Key words

parental care Centrarchidae energetics bioenergetics allometry reproductive success 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert W. Mackereth
    • 1
  • David L. G. Noakes
    • 1
  • Mark S. Ridgway
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  2. 2.Aquatic Ecosystem Science Section, Ontario Ministry of Natural ResourcesHarkness Laboratory of Fisheries ResearchPeterboroughCanada

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