Alternative migration and host parasitism strategies and their long-term stability in river lampreys from the River Endrick, Scotland

Adams, C.E., Bissett, N., Newton, J. and Maitland, P.S. (2008) Alternative migration and host parasitism strategies and their long-term stability in river lampreys from the River Endrick, Scotland. Journal of Fish Biology, 72(10), pp. 2456-2466. (doi: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.2008.01844.x)

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The stability of a discrete body size dimorphism of sexually mature river lamprey <i>Lampetra fluviatilis</i> from the River Endrick, Scotland, was examined over a 21 year period. Stable isotope analysis was used to test the hypothesis that the two size forms comprise individuals with differing migration and parasitic foraging strategies. Maturing river lamprey and the brook lamprey Lampetra planeri were trapped over 3 months each year in the periods 1983–1984 and 2004–2005. Brook lamprey catches and catches of both species combined showed no significant trend in catch rate with time. The catch rate of small body size river lamprey declined between 1983–1984 and 2004–2005 (although the difference did not reach statistical significance; <i>P</i> = 0·055). In contrast, there was a significant increase in the catch rate of the large body size river lamprey and as a consequence, a significant change in the relative proportion of each of the two river lamprey morphs over the study period. Analysis of the stable isotopes of C and N in muscle tissue showed that brook lamprey tissue derived its carbon from a freshwater source and had a δ<sup>13</sup>C more consistent with that of the River Endrick than with Loch Lomond. δ<sup>15</sup>N values for this species showed it to be feeding at the base of the food chain, consistent with filter feeding as an ammocoete. The large body size and the small body size river lamprey adults differed substantially in their δ<sup>13</sup>C values, with the small body size δ<sup>13</sup>C signature indicative of a freshwater carbon source and the large body size morph of a marine source. The small body size morph had a δ<sup>13</sup>C signature that was consistent with that of Loch Lomond powan Coregonus lavaretus suggesting that they share a common carbon source. The large body size morph was clearly feeding at a higher trophic level than the small body size morph. A single small body size river lamprey individual with typical morphology for that group, however, had C and N signatures that clustered with those of the large body size morphs. This individual had either migrated to sea to forage, as is typical for the species, or had been feeding on an anadromous fish with a strong marine C signature in fresh water. It is concluded that the body size dimorphism is indicative of a differential migration and foraging strategy in the parasitic phase of the life cycle of river lamprey at this site.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:alternative foraging strategies; size polymorphism; stable isotope analysis
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Newton, Dr Jason and Adams, Professor Colin
Authors: Adams, C.E., Bissett, N., Newton, J., and Maitland, P.S.
Subjects:G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Journal of Fish Biology

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