Springer

Does fish scale morphology allow the identification of populations at a local scale? A case study for rostrum dace Leuciscus leuciscus burdigalensis in River Viaur (SW France)

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The aim of the study was to investigate if scale morphology could be used to discriminate fish populations at a local scale. To this aim, 168 rostrum dace (Leuciscus leuciscus burdigalensis) were collected at 3 sites in the River Viaur (SW France), distributed along 82 Km of stream. Seventy-one measurements were taken from scales: 2 shape factors and 69 Fourier coefficients. A stepwise discriminant analysis revealed that fish from the 3 sites showed morphological differences (p < 0.001), with an average of 75.6% correct discrimination of the scales (65.5% after the cross-validation procedure). These results reveal that scale morphology can detect spatial structure in fish populations at a fine scale, which has implications for riverine fish conservation.

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