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How big do female longears get?


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#1 Betta132

Betta132
  • NANFA Guest
  • San Gabriel drainage area

Posted 18 August 2015 - 04:00 PM

In my area, male longears get to about 6" tops, usually a bit under. However, I've never seen a female longear that big. In areas primarily populated by longears, all of the longears tend to fall under one of four categories. Those are: 

Big buff colorful males (usually in nests)

Smaller but still colorful males that slink around hoping to find good spots

Tiny babies lurking in the plants

And small, dull longears that often have vertical stripes. These last ones seem to be the females. They don't engage in territorial spats, for one thing. Also, I've seen longears in this category actively engaged in spawning with a male. They're often something like half the size of the male they're breeding with, rarely that much larger. I think the biggest I've seen is a four-incher. 

Do female longears normally stay smaller than males? I ask because there's one in my sunny tank that I'm pretty certain is a female, and it's a little thing that usually hides to avoid being bullied. I'm thinking of transferring it to my new pond, but I don't want it to terrorize/eat my shiners, darters, and gambusia. A little 3 1/2" sunny probably wouldn't do any of that. 



#2 centrarchid

centrarchid
  • NANFA Member

Posted 18 August 2015 - 08:43 PM

The females being smaller than nesting males is at least partly due to females diverting nutrition from growth to egg production.  A given female can spawn every couple of weeks or so when conditions would otherwise be ideal for growth.  The breeding effort makes so females sacrifice growth outside of fall and spring.  Males also sacrifice growth by breeding.  

 

Nearly two decades ago I setup several ponds and stocked a small number of only males or only females in each pond.  Under those conditions the sexes grew equally well and both outperformed a mixed sex population in the adjacent pond.  The monosex ponds where stocked low enough that natural forages probably where not limiting growth.  Resulting fish after two growing seasons approached the maximum for what you mind find in the wild.


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