Virginia Journal of Science

Virginia Journal of Science. 2004.  Vol 55 (3) : 115-123
Nest-Building and Spawning Behaviors in Nocomis effusus (Actinopterygii: Cyprinidae)
Eugene G. Maurakis Science Museum of Virginia, 2500 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23220 and Biology Department, University of Richmond, VA 23173,  and George E. Maurakis, Bettie Weaver Elementary School, Midlothian, VA 23113

Spawning behavior in Nocomis effusus is described from direct observations and review of videotapes made in Yellow Creek (Cumberland River drainage), Tennessee in 2003.  Nest construction (i.e., excavating a concavity, forming a platform, and building a mound), and spawning behavior in N. effusus where a single breeding male excavates a pit and spawns with females on the upstream slope of his nest is like that described for Nocomis asper and Nocomis biguttatus.  In digging a spawning pit, a male N. effusus reshapes and reorganizes substrate materials that results in spawning areas on the upstream slope of the nest composed of 6.0 and 11.3 mm size-class pebbles.  Aggressive behaviors (in order of increasing aggression) observed between nest-building and intruder male N. effusus were non-contact head displacement, non-contact body displacement, chase, circle swim, and head/body butt. Nest associates (i.e., species that congregate and may spawn in a nest but do not contribute to its construction) observed over nests of N. effusus were Luxilus chrysocephalus and Lythrurus fasciolaris.
Keywords: Nocomis effusus, nest-building, spawning behavior