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The Ecology of the Silverjaw Minnow, Ericymba buccata Cope

Dale C. Wallace
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 87, No. 1 (Jan., 1972), pp. 172-190
DOI: 10.2307/2423891
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2423891
Page Count: 19
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The Ecology of the Silverjaw Minnow, Ericymba buccata Cope
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Abstract

A study of the ecology of the silverjaw minnow, Ericymba buccata Cope, in Otter Creek, Vigo Co., Indiana, was based on random samples taken over a period of 1 year. This method enabled analysis of temporal and spatial changes in the occurrence of this species with respect to the environmental factors measured. Comparisons between the ecology of Ericymba buccata and Pimephales notatus (Rafinesque) were drawn. Ericymba was the most abundant species in this relatively small, soft-bottomed stream. It usually occurred in non-wooded areas, over sand or sand-and-fine-gravel bottoms, in situations between 6 inches and 2.5 ft deep, and 16 to 40 ft wide with current speeds less than 1.5 fps. Certain aspects of its physiology and behavior are adaptive to these conditions. Although commonly associated with Pimephales notatus, the next most abundant species, the occurrence of the silverjaw minnow was less narrowly defined with regard to depth and flow. Pimephales occurred at significantly higher densities in "slow flow-deep" areas than in "moderate flow-shallow" areas. In contrast, the silverjaw minnow occurred at essentially the same densities in both of these situations and at much higher densities than the bluntnose minnow in the "moderate flow-shallow" areas. Although Erycimba has a high tolerance to turbidity and mine wastes, its numbers are reduced where turbidity and mine wastes have deposited silt layers over otherwise habitable stream bottoms. This species apparently moves into somewhat deeper water in the winter and remains there during early spring. Based on densities of occurrence it appears that young-of-the-year tend to move downstream in the autumn and remain there as yearlings until sometime the following autumn when they move upstream.

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