Distribution, abundance, and range of the round goby, Apollina melanostoma, in the Duluth-Superior Harbor and St. Louis River estuary, 1998-2004

Margot A. Bergstrom, Lori M. Evrard, Allen Mensinger

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31 Scopus citations


Round gobies were first discovered in the Duluth-Superior Harbor, Lake Superior, in 1995. Anecdotal sightings by anglers and others suggested that the infestation was growing and expanding; however, direct evidence of the distribution and expansion rate in the harbor was largely unknown. Distribution and range of the round goby, Apollonia melanostoma, (formerly Neogobius melanostomus) was assessed using bottom trawl sampling throughout the Duluth-Superior Harbor, and portions of the lower St. Louis River from 1998 to 2004. Previous to 1998, round gobies only were reported to occupy the harbor between the two shipping entries (river kilometer 1 to 7). By 2004, they expanded throughout the harbor and upstream to river kilometer 13, but remained absent in western Lake Superior. The number of round gobies captured per 5 minutes of trawling (catch per unit effort, CPUE) increased from less than 1 fish in 1998 to an average 5.4 ± 1.2 SE fish in 2004, indicating a large increase in the population. The median yearly fish total length varied from 56.0 to 81.5 mm and wet weight varied from 2.3 to 7.0 g. As nest guarding male round gobies were located in rocky habitats inaccessible to trawling, the initial years were dominated by female round gobies with a 16:1 female to male ratio, but by 2002 the maximum ratio was 2:1. The ratio change may be indicative of the increasing population forcing males from their preferred rocky habitat onto open substrates that were more accessible to trawling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)535-543
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Great Lakes Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Doug Jensen and Tom Hrabik for insightful comments on the manuscript. This article is Contribution 1453 of the USGS Great Lakes Science Center. This work is the result of research sponsored by the Minnesota Sea Grant College Program supported by the NOAA office of Sea Grant, United States Department of Commerce. The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for government purposes, not withstanding any copyright notation that may appear hereon. This paper is journal reprint No. 542 of the Minnesota Sea Grant College Program.


  • Aquatic invasive species
  • Lake Superior
  • Neogobius melanostomus
  • Round goby
  • Teleost


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