Asynchronous and synchronous spawning by smalleye shiner Notropis buccula from the Brazos River, Texas

B. W. Durham, G. R. Wilde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


We used a combination of methods to study the reproductive ecology of the imperiled smalleye shiner Notropis buccula Cross in the Brazos River, Texas between April 2003 and March 2005. Patterns in oocyte development, gonadosomatic index and oocyte size distribution indicate that reproduction occurs over a 6-month period between April and September and that the population spawns asynchronously with individual fish spawning small batches of ova throughout the reproductive season except during periods of elevated streamflow when spawning becomes more intense and is synchronised within the population. This combination of asynchronous spawning and episodic synchronous spawning in the same species challenges the current paradigm of an exclusive association between spawning and periods of elevated streamflow for pelagic, broadcast-spawning cyprinids in North American Great Plains Rivers. The combination of asynchronous and synchronous spawning that we observed for the smalleye shiner is likely widespread among pelagic, broadcast-spawning cyprinids and limitations of the methods commonly used to assess reproductive ecology likely contributed to an incomplete understanding of the relationship between spawning and streamflow. An accurate understanding of this relationship is necessary to design and implement appropriate conservation and management strategies for the smalleye shiner and other imperiled broadcast-spawning cyprinid fishes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)528-541
Number of pages14
JournalEcology of Freshwater Fish
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2008


  • Broadcast spawning
  • Cyprinid
  • Gonadosomatic index
  • Ovarian histology
  • Streamflow


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