Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Integrated Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

C. Michael Stinson, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Montgomery MacGregor, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

John R Copeland


Objectives were to describe breeding behaviors in Notropis alborus (one of eight species in the Notropis procne species-group), and provide materials for study of the geographical distribution of the species in Virginia. Breeding behaviors (establishment of male territories, aggressive behaviors between males, and spawning behaviors) in N. alborus were identified with direct field observations and review of videotapes of behaviors recorded in Mines Creek (Roanoke River drainage), Mecklenburg County, Virginia in 1997. Collections were made with a common seine and backpack electroshocker at 45 localities within the reported range of the species in the Roanoke River drainage in the Piedmont region of Virginia.

Individual male N. alborus established and defended their own territories after a period of combat when several males jockeyed for position over the substrate. Five forms of aggressive behavior (chase, parallel swim, non-contact body displacement, non-contact head displacement, and lateral head and body butts) were identified between male N. alborus. Spawning occurred over sand and gravel at water temperatures of 27-28 degrees C. Six sequential categories of male and female interactions that led to spawning were identified in N. alborus: Interim (behavior of a male in his territory); Female Approach (behavior of a female towards a male in interim); Male Approach (behavior of an interim male after female's approach); Alignment (orientation of male and female over substrate); Clasp (flexure of male's caudal peduncle and fin over back of female), and Dissociation (behavior of female and male after clasp). Categories of spawning behavior in N. alborus, also fit descriptions of spawning in Notropis procne, and may provide an appropriate framework for describing spawning behaviors in other members of the N. procne species-group.

The presence of N. alborus in Poplar Creek increases the range of the species in the Roanoke River drainage in Virginia. The present study indicates that future studies should investigate streams North, East, and West of known collections of N. alborus in the Roanoke River drainage in Virginia. Such distributional data will provide a mechanism to systematically document the entire range of the species in Virginia, that can be used to evaluate the status (state threatened) of N. alborus in Virginia.



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