Captive propagation, reproductive biology, and early life history of Crystallaria cincotta (Diamond Darter), Etheostoma wapiti (Boulder Darter), E. vulneratum (Wounded Darter), and E. maculatum (Spotted Darter)
Date of Graduation
Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design
Wildlife and Fisheries Resources
Stuart A. Welsh
Reproductive biology and early life history data are important for understanding the ecology of fishes, and can be used for the management and conservation of rare species. During 2008--2012, a captive propagation study was conducted on Crystallaria cincotta (Diamond Darter), a rare species with a single extant population in the lower Elk River, WV. Also, captive propagation studies were conducting during 2008 on three species of darters of the subgenus Nothonotus: Etheostoma wapiti (Boulder Darter), E. vulneratum (Wounded Darter), and E. maculatum (Spotted Darter). Water temperatures during Diamond Darter spawning ranged from 11.1--23.3°C. Females and males spawned with quick vibrations to bury eggs in fine sand in relatively swift clean depositional areas. Egg size was 1.8--1.9 mm, and embryos developed within 7--11 days. Diamond Darters were 6.7--7.2 mm TL at hatch. Larvae ranged from 9.0--11.0 mm TL following a 5--10 day period of yolk sac absorption. Larvae were provided Artemia nauplii, Ceriodaphnia dubia neonates, Brachionus rotifers, and powdered foods (50--400 microns). Diamond Darter larvae did not feed in captivity, except for cannibalizing other larvae. Larvae survived for a maximum of 11 days. Larvae had relatively large gapes and teeth, suggesting possible larval piscivory and a need for alternative food sources during captive propagation. During the Nothonotus study, the length of spawning period and associated range of water temperatures for the Wounded Darter (89 days, 16.0--24.0°C) exceeded those of the Spotted Darter (46 days, 17.0--22.5°C) and Boulder Darter (48 days, 17.0--22.5°C). Eggs produced per female were least in the Boulder Darter (163), intermediate in the Spotted Darter (191), and highest in the Wounded Darter (345). Diameters of eggs at deposition and prior to hatch were least for Spotted Darter (1.9--2.0 mm, and 1.9--2.1 mm), intermediate for Wounded Darter (2.1--2.2 mm, 2.4--2.5 mm), and largest for Boulder Darter (2.2--2.4 mm, 2.4--2.6 mm). Lengths of larvae at hatch and at the start of first fin development varied in a similar pattern: Boulder Darter (8.5--9.1, 14.0--15.0), Wounded Darter (7.7--8.0, 13.5--14.0), and Spotted Darter (6.5--7.0, 12.0--13.0 mm). Overall production per female was lowest in Boulder Darters (61 juveniles/ female), intermediate in Spotted Darters (86 juveniles/ female), and highest in Wounded Darters (90 juveniles/ female).
Ruble, Crystal, "Captive propagation, reproductive biology, and early life history of Crystallaria cincotta (Diamond Darter), Etheostoma wapiti (Boulder Darter), E. vulneratum (Wounded Darter), and E. maculatum (Spotted Darter)" (2013). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 551.