, Volume 62, Issue 1-3, pp 73-83

Nontroglobitic Fishes in Bruffey-Hills Creek Cave, West Virginia, and other Caves Worldwide

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Abstract

Six species of fishes were tagged and released in September and November 1995 and on five dates between November 1998 and October 1999 inside Bruffey-Hills Creek Cave. Most of the tagged fishes were creek chub, Semotilus atromaculatus, and green sunfish, Lepomis cyanellus. The overall recapture rate was 2.6% as only three of 117 fishes were recaptured. Forty-nine days was the longest time of residence by two L. cyanellus and one S. atromaculatus, and movement of 83.4 m was observed only for the creek chub. Tag loss was confirmed as one factor in the low recapture rate. Nine species of fishes were collected in the cave, including Phoxinus oreas and Pimephales promelas, two species never collected in a cave. Most of the fishes were pigmented normally, but many creek chubs were depigmented and appeared white or pigmentless when first observed in the cave stream. Four species, Phoxinus oreas, Pimephales promelas, Ameiurus nebulosus, and Lepomis macrochirus, were collected for the first time in Bruffey-Hills Creek Cave and in the Bruffey and Hills creeks drainage. Although data from this study did not shed light on residence time of fishes in the cave, the consistent occurrence of epigean fishes in this cave was shown. A list of epigean fishes from caves worldwide was included along with a discussion of aspects of the ecology of epigean fishes in caves and of evolution of troglobitic fishes.