Pacific lamprey (Entosphenus tridentatus) populations are declining and western brook lamprey (Lampetra richardsoni) status is unknown in the Pacific Northwest. Accurate measures of fish condition are a basic requirement to monitor health and status of fish populations. Fulton's condition factor has traditionally been used to assess condition of larval lamprey but alternative field-based and laboratory-based measures have not been assessed. We compared condition factor, body density, and lipid content of sympatric larval Pacific lamprey and western brook lamprey in 2010 and 2011 from two rivers of the Pacific Northwest. Condition factor was higher for Pacific lamprey than it was for western brook lamprey. All measures were variable and correlations among condition indices were weak. Body density and lipid content were higher in western brook lamprey in one year suggesting the possibility of increased energy requirements of metamorphosis to a nontrophic adult stage. The body density technique was onerous and likely has little field-based practicality. Body density and lipid content had a negative relationship as increased lipids leads to a more buoyant and less dense fish. Condition factor did not appear to be a good predictor of lipid content in our study and a suite of complex factors, including lipid dynamics prior to metamorphosis and nutritional resources, may underlie these results. This study provides one of the few empirical datasets on sympatric lampreys with different life history strategies.
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Vol. 89 • No. 3