frequency distributions, calcified structures, growth curves, freshwater fishes, Neotropical region


A idade e o crescimento constituem elementos-chave na dinâmica populacional de peixes, permitindo a identificação da estrutura etária, servindo para estimar a idade de primeira maturação, a longevidade e as taxas de mortalidade, além de serem necessárias para calibrar modelos ecológicos e pesqueiros. É uma área de estudo desafiadora, em função da variabilidade intrínseca do processo de crescimento nos níveis individual e populacional, influenciada por fatores endógenos e exógenos. Em termos metodológicos, em peixes de água doce (incluindo os de riachos) a análise de distribuições de frequência e a leitura de anéis em escamas têm sido utilizados para estimar a idade e o crescimento. Entretanto, esses métodos são limitados se não forem observadas suas premissas, podendo gerar estimativas pouco robustas e mesmo errôneas. A leitura de anéis em otólitos, apesar de mais acurada, não é um método fácil de aplicação em peixes de riachos, em função de suficiência amostral, tamanho dos otólitos e marcação dos anéis, especialmente na região Neotropical. No presente texto são apresentadas e discutidas as técnicas de amostragem, processamento e análise de dados de idade e crescimento, com enfoque em peixes de riachos à luz da literatura disponível. Foram identificadas na literatura limitações em resultados apresentados pela não observação das premissas intrínsecas aos diferentes métodos de análise de idade e crescimento, aliadas ao mecanicismo que programas de computador e manuais podem gerar. Para novos estudos, recomendam-se o uso de distribuições de frequência, a análise de anéis diários em otólitos e a realização de experimentos para as estimativas de idade e crescimento de peixes de riacho.

AGE AND GROWTH OF STREAM FISHES: METHODS AND CHALLENGES TO OBTAIN ROBUST ESTIMATES: Age and growth are key elements on the fish population dynamics, allowing the age structure identification, age of first maturity, mortality rates and longevity calculations, among others. There are also age-based fisheries and ecological models that depends on these studies. It is a challenger field due to the intrinsic variability of growth process at individual and population levels, influenced by endogen and exogen factors. For freshwater fishes, the modal progression analysis, and the analysis of growth rings on scales are widespread applied for age and growth. Like all methods, premises and limitations exist and they must be observed. Otolith analysis is more accurate, unless difficult to stream fishes due to sample size requirements, small otolith size and rings record, specially at the Neotropical region. In this study, sample techniques, material and data acquirement and analyses are presented, focusing stream fishes. Limitations were identified in the results available in the scientific literature due to no consideration of methods premises allied to the mechanic use of software and manuals. For further studies, length frequency analysis, otolith daily rings and experiments are recommended to estimate age and growth of fishes from brooks and streams..


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