Lake Whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) species pairs exist in a small number of northern temperate lakes in North America. Sympatric populations of dwarf and normal-sized whitefish represent a continuum of morphological and genetic divergence among these lakes. In this study, we used morphological and age data to assess the status of the Lake Whitefish species pair in Como Lake, Ontario (Canada). Whitefish were collected with gill-nets from spawning shoals during the fall of 2012 and 2014 and compared with archived (circa 1989) dwarf and normal-sized specimens. Our study indicates that the two previously collected forms have been replaced by a single form with a different morphology and age structure. In comparison to archived specimens, contemporary Lake Whitefish were larger, deeper-bodied and older; with more gill rakers, lateral line scales, smaller eyes and a wider interorbital width. We hypothesize that the recent invasion of Como Lake by Spiny Waterflea (Bythotrephes longimanus) has affected whitefish growth rates and changed the ecosystem conditions that previously maintained the species pair.
Relatif à l'orbite ou à l'oeil.