Does constant photoperiod inhibit the onset
of the reproductive cycle in northern pike (Esox lucius) males?
For most temperate and arctic fish species, photoperiod is the key abiotic factor determining the onset of the reproductive cycle, and, for many species, constant long photoperiod seems to have an inhibitory effect. Yet, there is no knowledge about the effect of photoperiod on the onset of the reproductive cycle in northern pike males.
The aim of this work was to investigate the potential inhibitory effect of constant long photoperiod on pike males. Batches of fish were reared in triplicate under natural simulated photoperiod (NSP) or constant long photoperiod (CP; 16L:8D) from 14 October 2013 to 14 March 2014.
Fish were sampled three times (at the beginning of the photoperiod decrease, at the beginning of the temperature decrease and at the end of the temperature decrease). Morphological parameters, sexual steroid levels and spermatogenetic stages were investigated.
Our results showed that CP partially inhibited gonadal development (gonado-somatic index or GSI, %; 2.5% under NSP and 1.2% under CP at day 152), spermatic development (96.2% of spermatozoa under NSP and 69.3% under CP at day 152) and the plasmatic levels of testosterone (7.20 ng/mL under NSP and 2.37 ng/mL under CP at day 152).
In conclusion, photoperiod may be one of the determinant factors that control the onset of the reproductive cycle in pike males, but temperature and endogenous rhythms also need to be investigated.