Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 161–169

Population Biology and Growth of Ozark Cavefish in Logan Cave National Wildlife Refuge, Arkansas

  • J. Zack Brown
  • James E. Johnson

DOI: 10.1023/A:1011860821932

Cite this article as:
Brown, J.Z. & Johnson, J.E. Environmental Biology of Fishes (2001) 62: 161. doi:10.1023/A:1011860821932


Ozark cavefish, Amblyopsis rosae, is a threatened species endemic to the Springfield Plateau of the Ozark Highlands in Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. One of the largest known Ozark cavefish populations, located in Logan Cave, Arkansas, was surveyed 25 times over a two-year period between 1993 and 1995. During the study, 147 Ozark cavefish > 30 mm (TL) were marked with visual implant tags and 140 Ozark cavefish were available for recapture; 68 were recaptured 189 times and the rest (72) were never recaptured. Individual Ozark cavefish persisted in Logan Cave for a relatively short time. Only 14% of 80 fish tagged during a previous study in 1992 were recaptured during this study, and half of all recaptured fish disappeared within three months. However, if a fish persisted for at least seven months in the cave, its probability of being recaptured over an additional year was high. Maximum persistence of a tagged fish was 28 months, suggesting these fish have a maximum life-span of 4–5 years. Growth averaged 0.6 mm per month, with maximum recorded growth of 6 mm per month and a maximum size of 65 mm TL. Smaller fish grew faster than larger fish but growth rates were sporadic, with several mid-sized fish (45–49 mm) showing little growth (0–3 mm year-1) while some fish > 50 mm grew up to 12 mm year-1. Most fish gained in length during April–October, the same period a maternity colony of gray bats occupied the cave. Gross Ozark cavefish movement over the study period ranged up to 1002 m, with a mean movement of 1.2 m day-1; movement was positively correlated with Ozark cavefish total length. Death seemed the most likely explanation for loss of tagged Ozark cavefish, including fish that emigrated out of the cave. Little up-stream movement was recorded between reaches and did not account for loss of tagged fish. Reproduction within the cave and immigration from the aquifer accounted for persistence of Ozark cavefish in Logan Cave.

Amblyopsis rosaethreatened speciesaquifer migration

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Zack Brown
    • 1
  • James E. Johnson
    • 1
  1. 1.U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, Arkansas Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of ArkansasFayettevilleU.S.A.
  2. 2.West Virginia Department of Natural ResourcesFairmountU.S.A.