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Factors affecting precocious sexual development in male rainbow trout Houston, Christopher James Gordon


Rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) from two wild stocks native to British Columbia, and a non-native domestic strain were reared under varying conditions to examine effects of growth rate and body size, genetic stock, and photoperiod on the incidence and timing of testis development. The ratio of gonad weight to body weight (Gonadosomatic index) was found to be useful for separating mature and immature male fish and for determining the onset of gonadal development. In Premier lake fish testis development began one year before the expected date of spawning. At this time, signs of maturation were evident primarily among males that reached a body weight of between ten and twenty grams, whereas most of the fish smaller than this "critical" size remained immature (i.e. no testis developmment). Apparently, this critical size must be reached by a certain time of the year. Thus, a time 'window' exists wherein fish achieving a certain size begin preparation for spawning the following year. Altering photoperiod regime during the time window had no effect on the incidence of sexual precociousness, but did delay spermatogenesis by an undetermined length of time.

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