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Ontogenetic variability in external morphology and microhabitat use of spirlin Alburnoides bipunctatus from the River Rudava (Danube catchment)

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The external morphometry of spirlin Alburnoides bipunctatus, a threatened species in parts of its native range, was re‐examined in specimens from the River Rudava, Slovakia, using geometrical shape analysis, and the relationships between morphometry and habitat use were evaluated. Spirlin <40 mm standard length (LS)(early and ‘middle’ juveniles) were found to differ significantly from those >51 mm (adults), whereas individuals between 41 and 50 mm LS(late juveniles) represented an intermediate interval during which major changes in shape appeared to occur. Adults had proportionally smaller eyes, deeper body, and longer preanal part of the body than the early and ‘middle’ juveniles. These differences tended to coincide with the differences observed in microhabitat use of spirlin, namely a generally increasing preference for high velocity areas with increasing age of the fish. Thus, changes in external morphometry occurring during the ontogeny of spirlin might reflect an increasing affinity for more complex, lotic microhabitats as well as developments associated with sexual maturation.

Keywords: development; geometrical morphometry; microhabitat preferences

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Comenius University, Faculty of Mathemathics, Physics and Informatics, Department of Probability and Mathematical Statistics, Mlynská dolina, SK-842 48 Bratislava, Slovakia and 2: CEFAS, Salmon & Freshwater Team, Pakefield Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, NR33 0HT, U.K. 3: Comenius University, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Ecology, Mlynská dolina B2, SK-842 15 Bratislava, Slovakia,

Publication date: 2006-04-01

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