Gender identification of shovelnose sturgeon using ultrasonic and endoscopic imagery and the application of the method to the pallid sturgeon
Monthly sampling of shovelnose sturgeon Scaphirhynchus platorynchus, a biological surrogate for the endangered pallid sturgeon Scaphirhynchus albus, was conducted to develop a multi‐seasonal profile of reproductive stages. Data collected included histological characteristics of gonads from wild caught fish and laboratory and field ultrasonic and endoscopic images. These data were used to compare effectiveness of ultrasonic and endoscopic techniques at identifying gender of adult shovelnose sturgeon at different reproductive stages. The least invasive method (i.e. ultrasound) was least effective while the most invasive (i.e. endoscope through an abdominal incision) was the most effective at identifying shovelnose sturgeon gender. In most cases, success rate for identifying males was greater than females, with success at identifying both genders greater in more advanced reproductive stages. Concomitantly, for most months average reproductive stage was more advanced for males than females. April and May were the months with the most advanced reproductive stage, and were the months when ultrasound was most effective. Methods were also applied in the Upper Missouri River to validate their use on pallid sturgeon Scaphirhynchus albus. Ultrasound was successful at identifying pallid sturgeon gender, however, endoscopic examination through the urogenital duct was only successful at identifying pallid sturgeon gender when the urogenital duct was not opaque.
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