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First record of the Bigeye Shiner (Notropis hoops) from West Virginia.


The Bigeye Shiner (Notropis boops) is distributed primarily within streams of the Central Highlands of the Mississippi River system (Burr and Dimmick, 1983; Wiley and Mayden, 1985; Page and Burr, 2011). The distribution range is vicariant, where populations in the Ozark and Ouachita Highlands are separated from those in the Eastern Highlands. The distribution range extends southward to northern Louisiana and westward to southeastern Kansas and eastern Oklahoma (Douglas, 1974; Cross and Collins, 1995; Gilbert, 1980). Distribution records from northern Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois document the northern extent of its range (Gilbert, 1980), and those from southern Ohio and eastern Kentucky represent the eastern periphery (Trautman, 1981; Burr and Warren, 1986).

Within the eastern extent of its range, the presence of N. boops is often sporadic (Trautman, 1981; Rice et at., 1998). Populations in western Ohio, including those from the Maumee River drainage, are extirpated (Trautman, 1981), but Rice el al. (1998) reported populations from several Ohio River tributaries of southern Ohio: Paddy's Run Creek, O'Bannon Creek, White Oak Creek, Sunfish Creek, Scioto Brush Creek, and Turkey Creek. The mouths of Scioto Brush Creek and Turkey Creek are approximately 80 and 70 river km from the West Virginia border. Burr and Warren (1986) reported N. boops from all major drainages of the Ohio River in Kentucky, with the eastern most record from a minor main stem tributary (Kinniconick Creek, Lewis County) approximately 80 river km from the West Virginia border.

Notropis boops occurs typically in clear upland streams with moderate gradients, pool habitat, and clean-swept substrates (Burr and Warren, 1986; Rice et al., 1998; Etnier and Starnes, 1993). It is not often found in silt-laden streams. The extirpation of populations in Ohio and Illinois is attributed partly to stream siltation associated with agricultural land-use (Smith, 1979; Burr and Dimmick, 1983; Rice et al, 1998). The species is pelagic in pool habitat (Gorman, 1987, 1988) and is primarily insectivorous (Trautman, 1981). Spawning occurs from Apr. through Aug. (Lehtinen and Echelle, 1979).


We document a population of N. boops from the Appalachian Plateau of West Virginia, representing an eastern range extension for this species. Twenty-seven individuals of N. boops were collected from five sampling efforts during 1999 to 2005 within the South Fork Hughes River drainage of the Little Kanawha River drainage, West Virginia (Fig. 1). The first confirmed specimen (USMF 2001-53) was collected by RLR on 15 Jul. 2001 from the South Fork Hughes River at the mouth of Laurel Run along Co. Rt. 32 approx. 2 km W of MacFarlan, Ritchie Co., West Virginia (39.0765, -81.2126; Fig. 1, site 1). On 16 Jul. 2001, two additional individuals (USMF 2001-57) were collected by RLR from Spruce Creek of South Fork Hughes, along Co. Rt. 19 approximately 4 km W of Hazelgreen, Ritchie Co., West Virginia (39.0854, -81.0062; Fig. 1, site 2). Additional specimens were collected by DAC from Spruce Creek of South Fork Hughes River at Hazelgreen, Ritchie Co., West Virginia (WVWR 949, n = 17, 10 Aug. 2004, 39.0875, -81.0025; Fig. 1, site 3) and adjacent to Co. Rt. 28 upstream of Slab Run, Ritchie Co., West Virginia (WVWR 1024, n = 6, 11 Aug. 2005, 39.1181, -80.9739; Fig. 1, site 4; Fig. 2). Subsequently, a poorly preserved individual (WVWR 646) was identified as N. boofis from a previous collection by DAC (3 Aug. 1999, South Fork Hughes River at Junction of 74 and Co. Rt. 28 near Berea, Ritchie, Co., West Virginia, 39.1355, -80.9379; Fig. 1, site 5).


The origin (native vs. introduced status) of the South Fork Hughes River population of N. boops is uncertain, in part, because historical data on fish distributions within the drainage are based on relatively few sampling efforts. It is possible N. boops was introduced to the South Fork Hughes River drainage. Considering biogeographic patterns of other fish species, however, the population of N. boops in the South Fork Hughes River drainage is likely native. Supporting this contention are the presence of several cyprinid species associates in Little Kanawha River system, which are native to the drainage and share a similar range distribution pattern with N. boops; these species are the Southern Redbelly Dace (Chrosomus erythrogaster), Steelcolor Shiner (Cyprinella xuhipplei), Bigeye Chub (Hybopsis amblops), and Redfin Shiner (Lythrurus umbratilus) (Page and Burr, 2011). Hence, we presume that N. boops is indigenous to the Little Kanawha River drainage.

Disjunct distributions of many North American fishes are likely the result of fragmentation of previously contiguous historic ranges (Wiley and Mayden, 1985; Mayden, 1987). Also, distribution ranges of some fish species within the Eastern Highlands previously extended farther to the east. For example an eastern range extension of Hornyhead Chub (Nocomis biguttatus) was recently documented for the Little Kanawha River drainage based on museum records from the 1960s (Welsh et al., 2013). Additionally, an eastern range extension was reported for Western Sand Darter (Ammocrypta clam) from the Elk River of the Kanawha River (Cincotta and Welsh, 2009).

Range distributions of North American fishes were likely influenced by both drainage history and fish dispersal (Hocutt et al., 1986; Berendzen et al., 2003; Berendzen et al., 2008). It is possible that the presence of N. hoops in the South Fork Hughes River of the Little Kanawha River drainage dates back to the Pleistocene, when the Little Kanawha River was a large tributary to the Marietta River of the historic Teays River (Tight, 1903). Further, the presence of N. boops in the South Fork Hughes River may be associated with Pleistocene refuge or dispersal routes, as the precursor of the Little Kanawha River has been suggested as a possible refuge or dispersal route for fishes during two periods of proglacial impoundments, Teays Lake and Lake Monongahela periods of Pleistocene glaciation (Hocutt et al., 1986).

The discovery of Notropis boops in the South Fork Hughes River drainage represents an addition to the West Virginia ichthyofauna, a Little Kanawha River distributional record, and an eastern range extension of this species on the Appalachian Plateau (Hocutt et al., 1986; Stauffer et al., 1995). Geographic ranges of several other cyprinids native to the Little Kanawha River drainage overlap with that of N. boops and are contiguous across the Eastern Highlands, which lends credence to the likelihood that N. boops is also indigenous to the Little Kanawha River drainage. Assuming native status, the occurrence of N. boops in the Little Kanawha River drainage suggests a once broader eastern distribution of this species in the Ohio River drainage.

Acknowledgments.--We thank S. Agosta, T. Bassista, K. Kuhn, S. Morrison, and D. Thorne for assistance with fish collections. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


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STUART A. WELSH (1), U.S. Geological Survey, West Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, 322 Percival Hall, Morgantown, WV 26506; DANIEL A. CINCOTTA, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Elkins Operations Center, P.O. Box 67, Elkins, WV 26241; and RICHARD L. RAESLY, Department of Biology, Frostburg State University, 101 Braddock Road, Frostburg, MD 21532. Submitted 10 December 2013; Accepted 13 June 2014.

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Title Annotation:Notes and Discussion
Author:Welsh, Stuart A.; Cincotta, Daniel A.; Raesly, Richard L.
Publication:The American Midland Naturalist
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1U5WV
Date:Oct 1, 2014
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