Report on the fish otolith collection at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History (Curatorial Report #105)


  • Alfonso L. Rojo


Otolith, fish, morphometrics, growth, length, weight, archaeology, paleontology, Nova Scotia Museum, collection, Sagitta, Lapillus, Astericus, labyrinth, rostrum, sulcus, Argentina, British Columbia, Florida, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Blueback herring


Fish otoliths, commonly called earbones or earstones are often the only identifiable remnants of fish in the archeological or paleontological record. Each species has uniquely-shaped otoliths, which have been found to correlate (through morphometric analysis) with standard measurements of the fish from which they came.  This report outlines the findings of the analysis of the otolith collection comprising samples from 976 specimens of 62 species belonging to 28 families of fish collected by the author.  The analysis compares the sex, length and weight of the individual species with a defined set of otolith measurements, with descriptions of the respective otoliths and correlations between fish length and otolith size. A description is also provided for each species including otolith morphology and micrographs.


These specimens represent collections from selected freshwaters in Canada (Ontario), North Atlantic waters, marine waters off British Columbia and the Northwest Territories as well as from marine waters off Florida and  Argentina. All specimens described and measured  have been deposited in the Zoology collection of the Nova Scotia Museum in Halifax.