Trout’s Ear Bones Reveal Their Life Travels

May 17, 2012 By: Dan Byrnes

Montana researchers recently published a study finding that a trout’s ear bone contains a record of migration. The otolith bone is found in all fish and for decades researchers have counted the rings in the bone to determine a fishes age. “As fish grow and move into new environments, the otoliths record that information and we matched that with stream statistics to reconstruct the entire life cycle of a fish.”

This will help determine plans for improving stream managment to help protect fish species, like Montana’s state fish, the cutthroat trout. “This approach could be very useful in understanding life history strategies and conservation needs of freshwater fishes worldwide. This approach allows examination of a fish’s entire life with significant accuracy.”