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A NOVEL NON-LETHAL LAPAROSCOPIC APPROACH TO DETECT INTERSEX (TESTICULAR OOCYTES) IN LARGEMOUTH BASS (MICROPTERUS SALMOIDES) AND SMALLMOUTH BASS (MICROPTERUS DOLOMIEU)
MacLeod, Alexander Hugh
YONKOS, LANCE T
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The appearance of testicular oocytes (TO) in wild fish populations has received considerable attention in the scientific literature and public media. Current methods to quantify TO are lethal; instead, a non-lethal alternative was examined. Laparoscopic insertion into the genital pore allowed internal visualization of the gonad and detection of TO by collecting five testis biopsies in smallmouth bass Micropterus dolomieu and largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides. Overall, biopsies quantified similar levels of TO detection and severity to conventional transverse sectioning with less than 10% mortality. Suitability of surgical anesthetics, tricaine methanesulfonate and electronarcosis were examined in laboratory and field applications. Electronarcosis had the added benefit of rapid sex identification and immediate release of female fish with minimal trauma, representing significant benefits when sampling small or compromised populations. Laparoscopy may be useful for monitoring the prevalence and severity of TO in these fish species when lethal sampling is not a desired outcome.