Regional variation and the effect of lake: River area on sex distribution of American eels

  • Oliveira K
  • McCleave J
  • Wippelhauser G
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Abstract

Silver phase American eels, Anguilla rostrata, were collected while migrating from five rivers in Maine, U.S.A. Sex ratios varied from 49 to 98% male for these rivers and had a range of 46% over a 30 km distance between the mouths of three rivers. The proportion of male eels was inversely related to the amount of lacustrine habitat in the five drainage areas (r= -0·95, P=0·014). A combination of these sex ratios and published data from two Nova Scotia rivers showed large variation in the proportion of male eels within 1° of latitude. Thus, the hypothesis from the literature that the distribution of the sexes is dependent upon distance of larval transport was not supported. Eels migrating from lacustrine habitats within a river were predominately female, while eels migrating from fluvial habitats were predominately male, regardless of upstream distance. Apparently river habitat influences the distribution of the sexes and may play a role in sex determination. © 2001 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Sex determination
  • Sex differentiation
  • Sex ratio
  • Silver eel

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Authors

  • K. Oliveira

  • J. D. McCleave

  • G. S. Wippelhauser

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