Josh Rouse: K-State researchers say male, female live-bearing fish evolving differently

KDWPT to discuss walleye length limits at Cedar Bluff Reservoir

Kansas State researchers made an interesting discovery recently while studying 112 species of live-bearing fish — that males and females evolve differently.

 

Michael Tobler, associate professor of biology at K-State, and Zach Culumber, a former K-State postdoctoral research associate, found that female evolution in the Poeciliidae family of fish was influenced more strongly by natural selection and the environment, while male evolution was influenced more by sexual selection — characteristics that females find desirable or that makes them superior competitors — according to a news release from the university.

Tobler and Culumber, who is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Florida State, published their findings in the Nature Ecology and Evolution journal article, “Sex-specific evolution during the diversification of live-bearing fishes.”

Catchy title, huh?

“In the big picture, this means that males and females are different and that matters not only within species but also in terms of shaping broad-scale evolutionary outcomes,” Tobler said in the news release. “Acknowledging that the sexes are different really affects how we make inferences about how evolutionary change has actually unfolded.”

While most fish breed through eggs laid by females, species such as mollies, platies, guppies, swordtails and mosquitofish retain their eggs and give birth to live young the way mammals do.

The only member of the Poeciliidae family that is native to Kansas is the Western mosquitofish, according to the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. The fish is small, dull gray or brown in color with no bars of bands on the sides, and has a rounded tail. The U.S. Geological Survey notes its native range extends through much of Kansas, mainly the northeastern and southern parts of the state.

While these may not be game fish, as an outdoors enthusiast I always find it interesting to learn about the types of fish in Kansas streams.

“When we analyzed males and females separately, we got completely different answers,” Tobler said in the release. “When we averaged males and females, it was not at all reflective of how the males or the females evolve. We can’t just lump the sexes together because it misrepresents how evolution has proceeded across this family of fish.”

The release added that the researchers are planning future studies with live male and female fish to better understand the changes that have occurred during 60 million years of evolution.

“Although we have long believed that sexual selection is an important force in the evolution of live-bearing fishes, and our data suggest that this is true for male body shape, it seems that geographic variation in the environment may have been more important for stimulating the formation of new species of live-bearing fishes,” Culumber said in the release.

WALLEYE REGULATIONS FOR CEDAR BLUFF TO BE DISCUSSED: The KDWPT Fisheries Division will host a public meeting Thursday evening to discuss walleye length limits at Cedar Bluff Reservoir.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the community room of the Western Electric Cooperative Association, 635 S. 13th Street in WaKeeney.

Staff will provide information about a proposal to change the minimum length limit for walleye on the reservoir to 21 inches. The change would go into effect in 2018 if approved.

For more information about the meeting, contact David Spalsbury at (785) 726-3212 or Lynn Davignon at (785) 628-8614.

FIRST FISH: Congratulations to Kameron Smith, 4, for catching his first fish. The youngster was helped out by his older cousin, Cooper Smith, in landing the nice bluegill.

DEER PERMITS AVAILABLE AUG. 1: Resident hunters and those purchasing deer permits over the counter can obtain their 2017 permits beginning Aug. 1, according to a news release from the KDWPT.

Deer permits available over the counter for the 2017 season include:

Resident Any-Season White-tailed Deer permits — valid for one white-tailed deer buck, doe or fawn — may be used statewide in any season, using equipment legal for that season.

$42.50 General Residents

$22.50 Resident Landowner/Resident Tenant

$87.50 Nonresident Tenant

$12.50 Resident Youth (15 and Younger)

Resident Archery Either-species/Either-sex Deer permits – valid for one white-tailed or mule deer buck, doe or fawn – may be used statewide with archery equipment only during archery season.

$42.50 General Residents

$22.50 Resident Landowner/Resident Tenant

$87.50 Nonresident Tenant

$12.50 Resident Youth (15 and Younger)

Resident Muzzleloader Either-species/Either-sex Deer permits – valid for one white-tailed or mule deer buck, doe or fawn – may be used either in the East Zone (3, 4, 5, 7, 16) or the West Zone (1, 2, 17, 18) during the early muzzleloader season and the regular firearm season. Hunters may use muzzleloading equipment only with this permit.

$42.50 General Residents

$22.50 Resident Landowner/Resident Tenant

$87.50 Nonresident Tenant

$12.50 Resident Youth (15 and Younger)

Hunt-Own-Land Deer Permits – valid for any white-tailed or mule deer only on land owned or operated by the landowner or tenant during muzzleloader, archery, and firearm seasons using equipment legal for that season – are $22.50. These permits may only be obtained by individuals who qualify as resident landowners or tenants, including family members living with the landowner or tenant.

Resident Antlerless White-tailed Deer permits – valid for any white-tailed deer without a visible antler protruding from the skull – are available to any hunter who has first purchased a resident deer permit that allows the taking of an antlered deer, unless the antlerless permit is purchased on or after Dec. 30.

$22.50 General Residents

$10 Resident Youth (15 and younger)

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