Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Missouri
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Dunn, C., B. Brooke, R. Hrabik, and C. Paukert. 2018. Intensive Sampling Reveals Underreported Use of Great-River Tributaries by Large-River Fishes in Missouri. Southeastern Naturalist


Large tributaries may help sustain large-river fish populations by mitigating fishhabitat losses within the highly modified great rivers of the Mississippi River basin. These tributaries are likely most beneficial for fish species specializing on non-degraded large-river habitat for some portion of their life histories. Few great-river tributaries, however, have been surveyed using methods that comprehensively target all fish species, resulting in uncertainty
or bias in the reported composition of many tributary fish assemblages. We report important distributional records, including 23 new accounts, for 12 large-river specialist fishes in Missouri—Alosa alabamae (Alabama Shad), Cycleptus elongatus (Blue Sucker), Pimephales vigilax (Bullhead Minnow), Notropis wickliffi (Channel Shiner), Polyodon spathula (Paddlefish), Hybognathus placitus (Plains Minnow), N. blennius (River Shiner), Macrhybopsis hyostoma (Shoal Chub), Scaphirhynchus platorynchus (Shovelnose Sturgeon), M. storeriana (Silver Chub), Ichthyomyzon unicuspis (Silver Lamprey), and Alosa chrysochloris (Skipjack Herring)—following 38 comprehensive fish surveys in tributaries
of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. New accounts collectively demonstrate tributaries support more large-river specialists than historically documented and thus may be currently undervalued sources of habitat for large-river fishes.