The objective of the study was to evaluate the variation in embryo viability within a population of walleye Sander vitreus from an inland reservoir throughout the spawning season. Egg size, egg lipid content, and fatty acid composition were used as criteria to evaluate egg quality. Additionally, we sought to verify whether any particular size-class of females produces superior-quality eggs or whether the time of spawning (early, middle, or late) has an effect on egg quality. Seventy-seven ovulating walleye females (total length, 465-885 mm) were captured in Salt Fork Reservoir, Ohio, throughout the spawning season. Although egg diameter after water hardening varied among females (1.85-2.38 mm), egg size did not correlate with female length (P > 0.05). Average egg lipid content was 12.0 ± 1.3% (mean ± SD) of wet weight and was unrelated to egg diameter (P > 0.05). Neutral and phospholipid classes in eggs comprised 77.5 ± 4.7% and 22.5 ± 4.7% of total lipids, respectively. Egg diameter was not significantly related to any of the specific fatty acids from neutral or phospholipid fractions (P > 0.05). Moreover, egg fatty acid compositions from both neutral lipids and phospholipids did not change during the spawning season. High survival of embryos (90.0 ± 8.7%) from females across the observed size range was recorded regardless of the spawning period. We concluded that the quality of walleye eggs was consistently high and thus that the timing of gamete collection would not compromise hatchery programs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law