Date of Award


Degree Name

Biological Sciences


College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Donald Tarter

Second Advisor

Dan Evans

Third Advisor

Ralph Taylor


The bowfin, Amia calva Linnaeus, is the only extant species of the family Amiidae. The Green Bottom Wildlife Management Area (GBWMA) is the home of the only known reproducing bowfin population in the state of West Virginia. The GBWMA (38°35' 35" N, 82°14' 55" W) is located along the Ohio River 26 km northeast of Huntington, West Virginia. The area (ca. 364 ha) contains a valuable wetland habitat (ca. 57 ha) in the southwestern portion of the state. A study of the reproductive biology of the bowfin became important when the u.s. Army Corps of Engineers proposed a habitat modification to add replacement marshland by building levees and dykes. The information from this study will establish a baseline for reproductive activities of the bowfin prior to habitat perturbation so that their adaptation to the new environ­ ment can be accurately determined. Bowfin were collected seasonally (spring, summer/ and fall) by hoop nets, pillow traps, seines, and electrofishing, with the nets and traps being most successful. Attempts were made to determine the duration of the reproductive season by: (1) calculating the seasonal gonadosomatic index (GSI), which was highest in spring fish, lowest during the summer season, and greatly increasing in the fall season, (2) observing seasonal gonadal development using histological techniques, which confirmed that most development occurs during the fall season, and (3) noting the appearance of newly hatched or Y-0-Y larvae, which were collected on May 15. Observations were also made on spawning colors (found only in spring males no younger than two years of age), fecundity (x = 22,575), egg diameters (1-2 mm) , and sexual dimorphism (meristics and morphometries), which showed significant differences in total length, standard length, body depth, and predorsal length. Females were slightly larger for all four characteristics. The results from this investigation will be compared with previous literature reports.


Bowfin - West Virginia - Cabell County.

Biology - Green Bottom Wildlife Management Area (W.Va.)