Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Donald C. Tarter

Second Advisor

E. Lewis Plymale

Third Advisor

Harold Ward


Comparative ecological, aorphological, and behavioral studies of the southern blaeknose dace, Rhiniohthys atratulus obtusus Agassiz, and the eastern blaokaose dace, B.hiniohtpys atratulus atratulus (Heraann), were made in high and low altitude streaas in West Virginia and Virginia. Statistical comparisons of the morphology of a. a.atratulus and R-.a.-obtusus showed no reliable body character that differentiated the two subspecies. Statistical tests indicated an intergrading population in Gandy Creek, a tributary of the Cheat River, in West Virginia. This was further substantiated by collecting males of the atratulus phenotype along with males of the native obtusus phenotype in adjacent sections of Gandy Creek. Artificial insemination of obtusus eggs with atratulus spera provided developing eabryos for one week. Atratulus and obtusus daoe were observed breeding in identical habitats. The leading behavior" of obtusus atratulus and the aggressiveness of atratulus were the only noted behavioral differences between the two subspecies. Stomach analyses of obtusus and atratulus dace, collected on the same day from ecologically similar streams, showed that the two subspecies were eating the same food. A study of an inter grading population did not show two separate breeding populations and for this reason obtusus and atratulus are believed to be subspecies.


Rhinichthys atratulus - West Virginia.

Rhinichthys atratulus - Virginia.

Rhinichthys atratulus - Ecology.

Rhinichthys atratulus - Morphology.