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Volume 78—1998

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Collection in Oklahoma of a Rare Fish Species, Notropis chalybaeus (Cyprinidae)

Lance R. Williams1 and Anthony A. Echelle
Department of Zoology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK 74078

1Current address: Department of Biological Sciences, Mississippi State University, P.O. Drawer GY, Mississippi State, MS 39762

References Table of Contents Home

The ironcolor shiner, Notropis chalybaeus, is a small cyprinid distinguished from congeners by having slightly falcate dorsal and anal fins, a prominent lateral band beginning around the snout and extending the length of the body, a distinct caudal spot, dark pigment outlining the anal fin and extending mid-ventrally onto the caudal peduncle, and dark pigmentation on the roof and floor of the mouth (1). The species occurs in pools and along margins of sluggish, lowland rivers and streams, usually in association with clean, sandy substrate and aquatic vegetation (1,2), and is found in Coastal Plains drainages from Texas to New York. Disjunct populations exist in the Illinois River drainage of Illinois and Indiana and around Lake Michigan (3). The species is considered rare in a number of states (4-8) and has been extirpated from Iowa (7).

On 2 March 1997, we collected a single specimen of N. chalybaeus from a large, backwater pool of the Little River, 9 km south of Broken Bow, McCurtain County, Oklahoma (T7S R24E S14). This specimen was deposited in the Oklahoma State University Collection of Vertebrates (OSUS 27510). To our knowledge, this is the fourth record of N. chalybaeus from Oklahoma, all of which are from McCurtain County. In 1925, Ortenburger and Hubbs (9) collected 10 specimens from Mountain Fork River, 16 km southeast of Broken Bow; six of these specimens are cataloged in the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History (OKMNH 05945). Following this record, the species was not collected in Oklahoma for 30 years. In 1955 five specimens were taken by Gordon Hall from Rock Creek near the Arkansas state line (OKMNH 30681). One additional specimen (OKMNH 47035) was collected in 1990 from the Little River (T7S R25E S11, 12) by W. J. Matthews and F. P. Gelwick.

Robison et al. (10) considered N. chalybaeus rare and endangered in Oklahoma, and Hubbs and Pigg (11) cited the drainage of swamps and the flooding of habitat by reservoirs as the major factors threatening the persistence of the species in the state. This species is rare throughout much of its range, and data are lacking for the Oklahoma population. The ironcolor shiner deserves further study within the state.


We thank Alice Echelle and the 1997 OSU Ichthyology class for field assistance and Marsha Williams for help with the manuscript.


References Table of Contents Home

1.   Miller RJ, Robison HW. The fishes of Oklahoma. Stillwater (OK): Oklahoma State University Press; 1973.

2.   Robison HW. Distribution and habitat notes on the ironcolor shiner Notropis chalybaeus (Cope) in Arkansas. Proc Ark Acad Sci 1977;31:92-94.

3.   Page LM, Burr BM. A field guide to freshwater fishes. Boston (MA): Houghton Mifflin Co.; 1991.

4.   Robison HW, Buchanan TM. Fishes of Arkansas. Fayetteville (AR): University of Arkansas Press; 1992.

5.   Douglas NH. Freshwater fishes of Louisiana. Baton Rouge (LA): Claitor's Publishing Division; 1974.

6.   Hubbs C, Edwards RJ, Garrett GP. An annotated checklist of the freshwater fishes of Texas, with keys to identification of species. Texas J Sci 1991;43:1-56.

7.   Pflieger WL. The fishes of Missouri. Jefferson City (MO): Missouri Department of Conservation; 1975.

8.   Miller RR. Threatened freshwater fishes of the United States. Trans Am Fish Soc 1972;2:239-252.

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9.   Ortenburger AI, Hubbs CL. A report on the fishes of Oklahoma, with descriptions of new genera and species. Proc Okla Acad Sci 1927;6:123-141.

10.   Robison HW, Moore GA, Miller RJ. Threatened fishes of Oklahoma. Proc Okla Acad Sci 1974;54:139-146.

11.   Hubbs C, Pigg J. The effects of impoundments on threatened fishes of Oklahoma. Ann Okla Acad Sci 1976;5:113-117.

Received: 1997 Jul 01; Accepted: 1998 Mar 23.