Growth is a fundamental biological process, driven by multiple endogenous (intra-individual) and exogenous (environmental) factors that maintain individual fitness and population stability. The current study aims to assess whether individual, spatial (headwaters and floodplains) and inter-sex variation occurs in the growth of Piaractus mesopotamicus in the Cuiabá River basin. Samples were collected monthly from July 2006 to July 2007, at two areas in the Cuiabá River basin (headwaters and floodplain). Three growth models (individuals; individuals and sex factors; individuals and areas factors) were developed and compared the fish growth parameters using Akaike information criterion (AIC). The best fit to the length-at-age data was obtained by a model that considered individual variation and sex. The theoretical maximum average length (L∞ ) was 64.99 cm for females, and 63.23 cm for males. Females showed a growth rate (k) of 0.230 yr-1and males of 0.196 yr-1. Thus, could be concluded that individual variability and sex were the main sources of variation in P. mesopotamicus somatic growth parameters.
Age; Growth models; Inter-sex variation; Otoliths; Von Bertalanffy