Cyprinidae Swimming Performance

Understanding Complexities of Swimming Performance in Two Common Species of Minnow (Cyprinidae)

Crystal Nichols, Aquatic Biology and Fisheries Center, Department of Biology, Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306

Austin Smith, Stephen Huelsman, Cara Schemmel, Wright State University – Lake Campus, 7600 Lake Campus Drive, Celina, OH 45822

Jason C. Doll, Quantitative Fisheries Center, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, 375 Wilson Road, Room 100, East Lansing, MI 48824

Stephen J. Jacquemin1, Department of Biological Sciences, Wright State University – Lake Campus, 7600 Lake Campus Drive, Celina, OH 45822.

In Press The Ohio Journal of Science


Understanding swimming performance of native freshwater fishes has implications for ecology, conservation, and management. In particular, this type of information has practical importance for improving our understanding of fish dispersal, occurrence, migration, and invasive potential. The objective of this study was to characterize swimming performance of two taxa from the largely understudied minnow family (Cyprinidae) and test for potential drivers as a function of body size, sex, habitat, morphology, or some combination. Our study assessed a wide ontogenic range of male and female individuals from lentic and lotic habitats of Spotfin Shiner Cyprinella spiloptera and Bluntnose Minnow Pimephales notatus populations. AIC model selection was used to identify the most parsimonious linear regression model to predict swimming performance of Spotfin Shiner and Bluntnose Minnow independently. Overall, larger Spotfin Shiners were found to be superior swimmers compared with smaller individuals. Additionally, individuals of both species that were described as being more robust morphologically were found to be better swimmers. However, Spotfin Shiners that were collected from lotic environments were generally better swimmers than individuals from lentic environments. Models did not recover sex specific effects in either species or meaningful body size or habitat effects in specific models of Bluntnose Minnows. Overall, this study provides evidence of a complex series of swimming performance covariates that must be accounted for when assessing or understanding performance. This has implications for population, assemblage, and community ecology and carries both management and conservation implications.

Figure 1. Exploratory data analysis of the relationship between swimming performance of Spotfin Shiner Cyprinella spiloptera with geometric morphometrics relative warps axis 1 (A) and axis 2 (B), habitat (Lentic vs Lotic, C), and sex (Female vs Male, D). Solid circles represent individual fish, solid line represent best fit linear regression line only (not predicted line of model selection). Modified boxplots include median, 25th and 75th percentiles, solid points are outliers calculated as 1.5 * inter-quartile range, and whiskers extend to the upper and lower non-outlier.