Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 62, Issue 1–3, pp 161–169 | Cite as

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

  • J. Zack Brown
  • James E. Johnson


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 rosae threatened species aquifer migration 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bond, C.E. 1996. Biology of fishes. Harcort Brace, New York. 750 pp.Google Scholar
  2. Boyd, G.L. 1997. Metabolic rates and life history of aquatic organisms inhabiting Logan Cave stream in Northwest Arkansas. MS Thesis, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. 98 pp.Google Scholar
  3. Brown, J.Z. 1996. Population dynamicsand growth of Ozark cavefish in Logan Cave National Wildlife Refuge, Benton County, Arkansas. MS Thesis, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. 105 pp.Google Scholar
  4. Eigenmann, C.H. 1898. A new blind fish. Proc. IndianaAcad. Sci. 1897: 231.Google Scholar
  5. Guy, C.S., H.L. Blakenship & L.A. Nielsen. 1996. Tagging and markingpp. 353–383. In: B.R. Murphy & D.W. Willis (ed.) Fisheries Techniques, Amer. Fish. Soc., Bethesda.Google Scholar
  6. Harvey, M.J. 1992. Bats of the eastern United States. Tennessee Tech. Univ., Cookeville. 22 pp.Google Scholar
  7. Haw, F.,P.K. Bergman, R.D. Fralick, R.M. Buckley & H.L. Blankenship. 1990. Visible implant fish tag. pp. 311–316. In: N.C. Parker et al. (ed.) Fish-Marking Techniques, Amer. Fish. Soc. Symp. 7, Bethesda.Google Scholar
  8. Jegla, T.C. & T.L. Poulson. 1970. Circadian rhythms, I: reproduction in cave crayfish Orconectes pellucidus intermis. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 33: 347–355.Google Scholar
  9. Johnson, J.E. 1987. Protected fishes of the United States andCanada. Amer. Fish. Soc., Bethesda. 42 pp.Google Scholar
  10. Means, M.L. 1993. Population dynamics and movement of Ozarkcavefish in Logan Cave NWR, Benton County, Arkansas, with additional baseline water quality information. MS Thesis, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. 126 pp.Google Scholar
  11. Means, M.L. & J.E. Johnson. 1995. Movement ofthreatened Ozark cavefish in Logan Cave National Wildlife Refuge, Arkansas. Southwest. Nat. 40: 308–313.Google Scholar
  12. Pflieger, W.L. 1997. The fishes of Missouri. Missouri Cons. Comm., Jefferson City. 371 pp.Google Scholar
  13. Pollock, K.H., J.D. Nichols, C. Brownie & J.E. Hines. 1990. Statistical inference for catch-recapture experiments. Wildlife Monog. (107): 1–97.Google Scholar
  14. Poulson, T.L. 1963. Cave adaptation in amblyopsidfishes. Amer. Midl. Nat. 70: 257–290.Google Scholar
  15. Robison, H.W. & T.M. Buchanan. 1988. Fishes ofArkansas. Univ. of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville. 536 pp.Google Scholar
  16. Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Booker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea & W. B. Scott. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. Amer. Fish. Soc. Special Publ. (20): 1–182.Google Scholar
  17. Willis, L.D. & A.V. Brown. 1985.Distribution and habitat requirements of the Ozark cavefish, (Amblyopsis rosae). Amer. Midl. Nat. 114: 311–317.Google Scholar
  18. Woods, L.P. & R.F. Inger. 1957. The cave, spring, and swamp fishes of the family Amblyopsidae of thecentral and eastern United States. Amer. Midl. Nat. 58: 232–256.Google Scholar
  19. Zar, J.H. 1984. Biostatisticalanalysis. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs. 718 pp.Google Scholar

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.

Personalised recommendations