Evaluation of temperature selection differences among juvenile muskellunge originating from different latitudes

Genetic differences among muskellunge Esox masquinongy populations are related to residence in major river drainages, suggesting the existence of divergent stocks. By use of radio-telemetry we compared different seasonal and diel temperature selection in a southern Illinois reservoir for three geographically and genetically distinct stocks of age-2 muskellunge from throughout the latitudinal range of the species. Muskellunge from the Upper Mississippi River drainage were represented by the Leech Lake, Minnesota, population and the Ohio River drainage was represented by the Cave Run Lake, Kentucky, population. Progeny from North Spring Lake, Illinois, an interstock, or mixed-origin stock, were also evaluated. No differences in temperature selection were observed among stocks of juvenile muskellunge across seasons or diel periods. The seasonal mean temperatures of the water varied significantly—spring 21.7°C, summer 28.4°C, and fall 14.8°C, with an overall average temperature of 24.1°C, in agreement with previously published values obtained in laboratory trials. This lack of different temperature-selection patterns among stocks is in contrast with other life-history characteristics, for example growth, metabolism, and conversion efficiency, which have been shown to differ among populations and stocks.