Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




Abstrad The objective of this study was to determine if epidermal morphology corresponds with reproductive behavior in cyprinid fishes. Representative species of nest-building fishes (Nocomds leptocephalus, Semotilus atromeculatus, exoglossum maxillingua) and non nest-building fishes (Campostoma anomaulm and Clinostomus funduloides) were studied. Light and scanning electron microscopy were used to examine epidermal morphology and keratin distribution of skins from the snout, cheek, mandible, anterior dorso-lateral trunk, and caudal peduncle of breeding males of nest-building species and were compared to those in non nest-building cyprinid species. Previous frame-by-frame analysis of video tapes of reproductive activities of each species and literature accounts were used to identify and describe breeding behaviors.

The location and structure of keratinized regions in the epidermis of these cyprinid fishes is specifies-specific. The distribution of keratin and the form in which it occurs correlates with four primary aspects of reproduction: substrate modification (nest-building or pit digging), spawning, agnostic behaviors (combat and/or aggressive displays), and ornamentation (species and sex identification).

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