Morehead State University

Poster Title

Dispersal Ability of the Frecklebelly Darter (Percina stictogaster)

Institution

Morehead State University

Abstract

The Frecklebelly Darter, Percina stictogaster (Burr and Page), is restricted to high-quality streams in the Kentucky River and Green River drainages. This species has narrowly documented basic life history information, including dispersal ability. Among the 12 darter species found in our study site in the Red River, Menifee and Powell counties, Kentucky, P. stictogaster is the most pelagic. Using a reach-specific tagging system we compared its movements with five other benthic or semi-pelagic darters. We tagged a total of 488 individuals of six darter species using subcutaneous injections of visible implant fluorescent elastomer (VIE) in May-October 2012. Fishes were tagged from four reaches of the Red River, spanning a total of 440 m. These reaches plus an additional four reaches (two upstream and two downstream), spanning a total of 1470 m, were sampled by snorkeling in August 2012 and by seining in October 2012. The VIE tags are brightly colored and easily visible underwater. During August snorkeling we observed a total of 832 individuals including 12 tagged darters, four of which were P. stictogaster. In October, we captured 437 darters, nine of which were tagged, including four P. stictogaster. One P. stictogaster moved downstream 206 m and one P. sciera moved upstream 767 m; all other recaptured darters were in the reach where they were originally tagged. Our data suggest that the darters studied move little during the summer and early fall, and provide limited evidence of greater dispersal for the pelagic and semi-pelagic species (Percina).

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Dispersal Ability of the Frecklebelly Darter (Percina stictogaster)

The Frecklebelly Darter, Percina stictogaster (Burr and Page), is restricted to high-quality streams in the Kentucky River and Green River drainages. This species has narrowly documented basic life history information, including dispersal ability. Among the 12 darter species found in our study site in the Red River, Menifee and Powell counties, Kentucky, P. stictogaster is the most pelagic. Using a reach-specific tagging system we compared its movements with five other benthic or semi-pelagic darters. We tagged a total of 488 individuals of six darter species using subcutaneous injections of visible implant fluorescent elastomer (VIE) in May-October 2012. Fishes were tagged from four reaches of the Red River, spanning a total of 440 m. These reaches plus an additional four reaches (two upstream and two downstream), spanning a total of 1470 m, were sampled by snorkeling in August 2012 and by seining in October 2012. The VIE tags are brightly colored and easily visible underwater. During August snorkeling we observed a total of 832 individuals including 12 tagged darters, four of which were P. stictogaster. In October, we captured 437 darters, nine of which were tagged, including four P. stictogaster. One P. stictogaster moved downstream 206 m and one P. sciera moved upstream 767 m; all other recaptured darters were in the reach where they were originally tagged. Our data suggest that the darters studied move little during the summer and early fall, and provide limited evidence of greater dispersal for the pelagic and semi-pelagic species (Percina).