USGS - science for a changing world

Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

UMESC Publications

Phototaxis of larval and juvenile northern pike

Zigler, S. J., and Dewey, M. R., 1995, Phototaxis of larval and juvenile northern pike: North American Journal of Fisheries Management, v. 15, no. 3, p. 651-653.


Age- Phi northern pike Esox lucius prefer vegetated habitats that are difficult to sample with standard towed gears. Light traps can be effective for sampling larval fishes in dense vegetation, given positive phototaxis of fish. We evaluated the phototactic response of young northern pike by comparing the catches of larvae and juveniles obtained with plexiglass traps deployed with a chemical light stick versus traps deployed without a light source (controls) in a laboratory raceway and in a vegetated pond. In the laboratory tests, catches of protolarvae and mesolarvae in lighted traps were 11-35 times greater than catches in control traps. The catches of juvenile northern pike in field and laboratory experiments were 3-15 times greater in lighted traps than in control traps, even though the maximum body width of the larger juveniles was similar to the width of the entrance slots of the traps (5 mm). Larval and juvenile northern pike were photopositive; thus, light traps should effectively sample age-0 northern pike for at least 6 weeks after hatching.

Keywords: Esox lucius, habitat-selection, phototaxis, fish-larvae, juveniles, light-fishing, biological-sampling, freshwater-fish

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Contacting the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center
Page Last Modified: January 29, 2016