Scutes for Sturgeon Size Reconstruction: Traditional and Geometric Morphometric Techniques Applied to Acipenser sturio and A. oxyrinchus

Els Thieren, Wim Van Neer

Resumen


Se exploran alternativas tradicionales y de morfometría geométrica en la inferencia de la talla del esturión europeo (Acipenser sturio) y Atlántico (A. oxyrinchus) a partir de placas dérmicas. La correlación existente entre la longitud del pez y diferentes medidas de las placas dérmicas fue evaluada a través de regresiones lineales utilizando 58 esturiones en colecciones de museos. Dado que la precisión de tal técnica era limitada se exploró la posibilidad de determinar la posición de placas dérmicas aisladas dentro de la series corporales en función de su forma y dimensiones. Aunque en las filas laterales y dorsales la forma y tamaño de las placas cambia a lo largo del eje antero-posterior, las diferencias son demasiado graduales para poder establecer la posición original de una placa dentro de la serie. También se constataron las diferencias de talla y forma en placas procedentes de esturiones de distinto tamaño, pero estas tampoco eran suficientemente marcadas como para realizar una estimación precisa de la talla corporal. Se concluye por ello que las placas dérmicas aisladas no pueden proporcionar estimaciones precisas de la tallas corporal. No obstante, los modelos de regresión que presentamos permiten verificar si tanto las placas dérmicas laterales como las dorsales pertenecieron a esturiones de más de un metro de longitud. En caso afirmativo, las placas pueden ser identificadas a nivel de la especie a través de su ornamentación al tratarse ésta de un carácter dependiente de la talla.

Palabras clave: Reconstrucción de la talla, Morfometría geométrica, Morfometría tradicional, Placa dérmica, Acipenser sturio, Acipenser oxyrinchus

Abstract:

Different traditional and geometric morphometric approaches are explored for the size reconstruction of European (Acipenser sturio) and Atlantic sturgeon (A. oxyrinchus) on the basis of isolated bony scutes. The relationship between fish length and different scute measurements was tested with linear regressions using 58 modern sturgeons from museum collections. As the accuracy of this approach was limited, we explored the possibility of determining the position of an isolated scute within its row on the basis of its shape or dimension. In the dorsal and lateral rows, the shape and dimension of the scutes change along the antero-posterior axis, but this difference is too gradual to allow establishing the original position of an isolated scute within the row. No consistent changes in the shape or dimensions of ventral scutes were observed according to their place within the row. Differences in scute shape or dimensions between large and small animals have been documented as well, but these differences were not sufficiently pronounced for an accurate estimation of size. We conclude that isolated scutes cannot provide very accurate fish length reconstructions. However, the regression models presented in this study, allow verifying whether individual lateral and dorsal scutes belonged to sturgeons larger than 1 m total length. In that case they can be identified to species level on the basis of their surface ornamentation, which is size dependent.

Keywords: Size reconstruction, Geometric morphometrics, Traditional morphometrics, Scute, Acipenser sturio, Acipenser oxyrinchus


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Referencias


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