Ecology of the Rio Grande Silvery Minnow (Cyprinidae: Hybognathus amarus) Inferred from Specimens Collected in 1874

David E. Cowley, Patrick D. Shirey, Michael D. Hatch
2006 Reviews in fisheries science  
The Rio Grande silvery minnow (Hybognathus amarus) was historically an abundant and widespread species in the Rio Grande Basin. Its decline to endangered status had many probable causes and has spanned more than a century. Specimens of H. amarus collected in July 1874 at San Ildefonso, near Santa Fe, New Mexico, allowed a retrospective assessment of the ecology and morphology of the species and the environmental conditions of the Rio Grande in areas foraged by these minnows. Analysis of diatoms
more » ... Analysis of diatoms from the gut showed that H. amarus foraged mainly in nutrient-enriched areas on mud substrates in 1874 and to lesser extents on periphyton associated with plant, sand, and rock substrates. Gut contents included a considerable amount of fine-grained sediment and a wide variety of organic materials including detritus, pine pollen, cyanobacteria, algae, and diatoms. Scale annuli showed that H. amarus was once a relatively long-lived minnow; all age classes from 1 to 5 were present in 1874. The presence of multiple individuals of several ages suggested that annual survival rates were high historically and that the species may be iteroparous, rather than short-lived and semelparous as widely held. The morphology of H. amarus from a captive stock in 2003 was consistent with the morphology of the 1874 specimens.
doi:10.1080/10641260500341494 fatcat:6jn4tnoci5b3no6jh5n7quzaby