The nesting ecology and behavior of the hornyhead chub, Nocomis biguttatus (Kirtland) a keystone species in Allequash Creek, Wisconsin

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American Midland Naturalist




Reproductive ecology of Nocomis biguttatus (Pisces: Cyprinidae) was studied in Allequash Creek, N-central Wisconsin. Nocomis biguttatus built gravel nests in which it and two other cyprinids, Notropis cornutus and N. rubellus, spawned. Construction of nest mounds and spawning activity of hornyhead chubs was mostly during late May and early June in 1986 and 1987. Nests were constructed in areas with significantly greater depths and faster currents than were generally available. Nests averaged ca. 50 cm long, 40 cm wide, and 6.4 cm high and approximately 70% were built over sand and 90% were constructed in open areas. Nest-building and spawning behavior are described from observations of several males. The spawning act was typically a sequence of repeated spawnings between the resident male and a single female, within a spawning cup, followed by burial of eggs with stones carried into the cup by the male. Relationships of the hornyhead chub to N. cornutus and N. rubellus are described and discussed.