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Becker, George C. / Fishes of Wisconsin

Sculpin family - cottidae,   pp. 963-981 ff. PDF (8.9 MB)

Page 981

Spoonhead Sculpin   981 
ovaries 8.2% of the body weight; she held 357 yellow 
to orange eggs, which averaged 1.12 (1.0-1.3) mm 
  Fish (1932) illustrated and described the 27.5-mm 
stage from Lake Erie. The maximum size known for 
a spoonhead sculpin is a 134-mm (5.3-in) TL fish 
which was caught in gill nets in Pemichangan Lake, 
Quebec (Delisle and Van Vliet 1968). Eleven spoon- 
head sculpins, taken at 91 m from the Apostle Is- 
lands region of Lake Superior by trawl, ranged from 
43 to 84 mm (1.7 to 3.3 in) TL. 
  The diet of 77 spoonhead sculpins from the Du- 
luth-Superior sector of Lake Superior and of 64 
spoonheads from the Apostle Islands was domi- 
nated by crustaceans; it also included insects, fish 
eggs, and other material (Anderson and Smith 1971b). 
Amphipods were the principal food of the spoon- 
heads in both areas during all months. Mysis and co- 
pepods were consumed in lesser amounts in the two 
areas, and isopods were eaten only at Duluth-Supe- 
rior. The consumption of insects (primarily chiron- 
omids), was not as important in the Apostle Islands 
region as it was in the Duluth-Superior area. Core- 
gonid eggs were eaten during April and May in both 
areas. Plant material, oligochaetes, Hirudinea, and 
unidentified material constituted the balance of the 
stomach contents of spoonheads in both areas. 
  The spoonhead sculpin tolerates fresh and brack- 
ish waters. 
  In Lake Superior, the spoonhead sculpin is re- 
stricted to the deeper water, and no fish have been 
taken in water shallower than 37 m. The abundance 
of the species increases with depth to 73-90 m (Dryer 
1966). In Lake Michigan, Hubbs reported (unpub- 
lished) that he collected several half-grown individ- 
uals from about 0.3 m of water near the head of the 
east arm of Grand Traverse Bay, and one individual 
from near the shore at Jackson Park, Chicago (Dea- 
son 1939). 
Historically the spoonhead sculpin was preyed on by 
lake trout and burbot in Lake Michigan. Van Oosten 
and Deason (1938) noted that, in Lake Michigan and 
in Green Bay, 3.8% of the lake trout stomachs and 
6.6% of the burbot stomachs containing food held 
spoonhead sculpins. According to Deason, as many 
as 33 spoonhead sculpins were found in a single 
stomach. Deason (1939) reported that the spoonhead 
sculpin was found in the stomachs of lake trout and 
burbot captured in gill nets at 24-134 m. Spoon- 
heads have also been reported from the stomach of a 
whitefish caught in Charlevoix Lake, Michigan. As a 
result of its disappearance from southern Lake Mich- 
igan and its depletion in northern Lake Michigan, the 
spoonhead sculpin's use as a forage fish is limited. 
  Scott and Crossman (1973) noted that the spoon- 
head sculpin is of interest zoogeographically since its 
presence in a body of water provides information on 
the geological or glacial history of the region. 

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