Growth, summer cohort output, and observations on the reproduction of brook silverside, Labidesthes sicculus (Cope) in the Kawartha Lakes, Ontario

  • Percival M. Powles
  • Ian M. Sandeman


The brook silverside, Labidesthes sicculus (Cope), is unique in Canadian waters, as it completes its life cycle in 1 year. Previous studies based on scale ageing had suggested the species was an “annual,” but we confirmed this for the first time by otolith analysis. Growth rates from both back-calculation, and the Gompertz model, indicated an asymptote near the end of the summer, and average summer growth rates of 0.77 and 0.70 mm/day, respectively. The Gompertz model gave the best fit (n = 201, r = 0.744) with an L∞ of 85.4 mm TL, and instantaneous growth rate, g, of 0.0264. Back-counting daily growth increments allowed us to show that broods of young fish were produced throughout the summer, from late May to mid August, with maximum hatch taking place in mid-July. The species is a “batch” (serial) spawner, with only a fraction of the eggs ripening in the ovary and being released at as yet undetermined intervals. Eggs of the larger immature fish in the first summer developed from 0.05 to 0.21 mm in diameter (preserved) by fall, and in mature fish of the following spring and summer, developed to 1.2 mm in diameter (preserved), 1.4 mm fresh, at spawning. Attached to each egg was a filament averaging 2.0 cm in length, adhesive in nature, and presumably for attachment to vegetation. The egg also had microscopic hairs on its surface. No evidence was found to support temperature-dependant sex determination, nor were embryos or sperm found in the ovaries of spawning females, unlike Labidesthes sicculus vanhyningi, (the southern subspecies) which has internal fertilization. The Canadian species possesses a genital papilla through which the eggs were released, and an apparently much smaller male genital papilla than the southern subspecies.


Daily increments Spawning Hatch period Eggs Reproduction Life cycle Sex determination Brook silverside 



We are grateful to many for assistance over the years in this study. Prof. James Schaefer, Trent University, discussed the project and extended laboratory equipment and space for our use. Joe Nelson, Emeritus Professor at the University of Edmonton, furnished us with current taxonomic status of brook silverside. Eric and Sheena Sager, Director and Manager of Oliver Research Centre, Trent University, extended their facilities and assisted in collections. Chris Wilson, Ministry of Natural Resources, Peterborough, ON, provided us with useful information on statistical and genetic questions relating to silversides. Jane Mackie, Trent University Nursing School, Carson Mackie, Brian Seabrook, and Andrew Russelle, of Peterborough, helped us to seine and sort samples. Jason Allen, animal facility technician, Trent University, furnished tank facilities for our validation experiment, and helped maintain the fish. David Werneke, Auburn University, sent us important information on Labidesthes sicculus vanhyningi, his dissertation species, and photographs of red spawning male L.s.v. Michael Rawson, Ministry of Natural Resources, Lindsay, ON, provided us with temperature regimes for several years of water temperatures for the Kawartha Lakes. Betsy Laban and Dean Ahrenholz advised on and assisted with the back-calculation measurements of silverside otoliths, using the Optimas software programme at the Beaufort Laboratory, Southeast Fisheries Center, Pivers Island, and Beaufort, NC. We are grateful to the Laboratory, their expertise and the equipment made available to us.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biology DepartmentTrent UniversityPeterboroughUSA

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