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Title: Fishes of the Wakarusa River in Kansas
Author: Deacon, James E., Metcalf, Artie L.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Volume 13, No. 6, pp. 309-322, 1 fig.
February 10, 1961

Fishes of the Wakarusa River in Kansas



(Contribution from The State Biological Survey, and from the Department
of Zoology of The University of Kansas)



Editors: E. Raymond Hall, Chairman, Henry S. Fitch, Robert W. Wilson

Vol. 13, No. 6, pp. 309-322, 1 fig.
Published February 10, 1961

Lawrence, Kansas



Fishes of the Wakarusa River in Kansas



(Contribution from The State Biological Survey, and The Department of
Zoology of The University of Kansas)


The Wakarusa River rises in the eastern edge of the Flint Hills and
flows approximately 50 miles in an easterly direction and empties into
the Kansas River near Eudora; with its tributaries, the Wakarusa drains
458 square miles in parts of Wabaunsee, Shawnee, Osage, and Douglas
counties of northeastern Kansas (Fig. 1). The average gradient is 6.3
feet per mile. Turbidity is consistently more than 100 ppm in the lower
portions of the mainstream and major tributaries, but is usually lower
in the upper portions of tributaries. The channel of the mainstream is
intrenched in its own alluvium (Dufford, 1958:36) and has high, muddy
banks and mud- or sand-bottom; the upper parts of tributaries have
lower banks and bottoms of gravel, rubble, or bedrock, although a few
(such as Cole Creek) have areas of sandy bottom. A fringe forest of
deciduous trees occurs along most streams. The topography and geology
of the area have been discussed by Todd (1911), Franzen and Leonard
(1943), and Dufford (1958).

The five-year period prior to 1957 was the driest in the 70-year
history of weather-records in Kansas (Metzler _et al._, 1958). Streams
throughout the Wakarusa Basin suffered intermittency and, according to
Mr. Melvon H. Wertzberger, the local Work Unit Conservationist with the
Soil Conservation Service, many of them dried completely or contained
only a few widely-scattered, stagnant pools. The effect of the drought
on stream-flow at the mainstream gaging station 2.1 miles south of
Lawrence is presented in Table 1.

According to the Division of Sanitation, Kansas State Board of Health,
no untreated domestic sewage or industrial waste is discharged into the
Wakarusa River System at this time.

The Wakarusa Watershed Association is in the preliminary stages of
establishing a watershed control project in the basin. Objectives of
the project are the improvement of land-use practices and the
construction of several headwater retention structures. Such a program
should have a long-range effect on the physical and biological
characteristics of the streams of the basin. With this in mind we think
it important to document the nature of the present fish-fauna and to
attempt a historical résumé of the fauna, based on collections made in
the past sixty years.

[Illustration: FIG. 1. Map of the Wakarusa River and its principal


Sodium cyanide, a 110-volt (600-watt) A.C. electric shocker, and
seines (6, 12, and 25 feet long, 4 to 8 feet deep having 1/4-in. mesh)
were used to collect fish in 1959. All fishes were preserved and
examined in the laboratory with the exception of large, common species
that were identified in the field and returned to the stream.


 Water Year |  Days   | Days with | Maximum | Mean
  (Oct. 1   | with no | flow less |   for   | for
 to Oct. 1) |  flow   | than 5cfs |  year   | year
 1951       |      0  |      0    | 22,600  | 596.0
 1952       |      0  |     85    |  5,000  | 179.0
 1953       |     83  |    191    |    685  |  10.2
 1954       |    194  |    123    |  2,010  |  17.2
 1955       |    116  |    174    |  2,630  |  22.3
 1956       |    122  |    183    |  2,550  |  20.7
 1957       |    141  |     84    | 11,700  | 137.0
 1958       |     0   |      9    |  6,370  | 213.0
 1959       |     0   |     46    |  8,000  | 184.0

_Collection Sites_

    The following collections were made by personnel of the State
    Biological Survey of Kansas in the 1890's, from 1910 to 1912, and
    from 1942 to 1953. These collections, all from Douglas County, are
    deposited in the Museum of Natural History, The University of
    Kansas. In the annotated list they are designated "KU":

     1. Rock Creek, 1898.

     2. Washington Creek, 1898.

     3. "2-1/2 miles east of Twin Mounds," Rock Creek, Sec. 1, T. 14 S,
    R. 17 E, 1899.

     4. Rock Creek, 1911.

     5. Rock Creek, 1912.

     6. Washington Creek, 2-3/4 mi. W and 1 mi. S Lawrence, 1946.

     7. Tributary of Yankee Tank Creek, Secs. 4 and 9, T. 13 S, R. 19
    E, July 24, 1951.

     8. Rock Creek, Sec. 19, T. 13 S, R. 19 E, Aug. 11, 1951.

     9. Drainage ditch, tributary to Wakarusa River, Sec. 18, T. 13 S,
    R. 20 E, Aug. 24, 1951.

    10. Wakarusa River, Sec. 20, T. 13 S, R. 20 E, Aug. 24, 1951.

    11. Rock Creek, Sec. 27, T. 13 S, R. 18 E, Sept. 28, 1951.

    12. Wakarusa River, Secs. 16 and 17, T. 13 S, R. 20 E, June 21,

    13. Little Wakarusa River, Sec. 18, T. 13 S, R. 21 E, June 21,

    14. Rock Creek, Sec. 33, T. 13 S, R. 18 E, Oct. 2, 1952.

    15. Wakarusa River, Sec. 14, T. 13 S, R. 20 E, March 28, 1953.

    Several collections made between 1912 and 1948 are deposited in the
    University of Michigan Museum of Zoology. In the annotated list
    these collections, all from Douglas County, are designated "UMMZ":

     1. Rock Creek, June 9, 1912.

     2. Oxbow Lake, 6 mi. E Lawrence, 1924 (several dates).

     3. Wakarusa River, 7 mi. SE Lawrence, April 9, 1924.

     4. Rock Creek, 9 mi. SW Lawrence, April 14, 1924.

     5. Rock Creek, 12-1/2 mi. S and 8-1/2 mi. E Topeka, July 4, 1948.

    Our collections, all of which were made in 1959, are identified by
    the letters DM followed by a station-number. Stations are numbered
    consecutively beginning at the mouth of the Wakarusa River and
    proceeding up each tributary as it is encountered.

_Description of Stations_

     1. Wakarusa River, Sec. 4, T. 13 S, R. 21 E, March 14 and Oct. 18.
     Mouth of Wakarusa to one-half mile upstream; width _ca._ 25 feet;
     depth to 4 feet; bottom mud; banks mud, 10 feet high; current
     slight; water turbid.

     2. Wakarusa River, Sec. 7, T. 13 S, R. 21 E, March 21. Width
    _ca._ 25 feet; bottom mud; banks mud, 10-20 feet high.

     3. Little Wakarusa Creek, Sec. 19, T. 13 S, R. 21 E, May 2. Long
    sandy riffles, 6-10 inches deep; pools to 3 feet deep; bottom sand
    and mud; water slightly turbid.

     4. Little Wakarusa Creek, Secs. 29 and 32, T. 13 S, R. 21 E, May
    2. Riffles 8-10 inches deep having rubble bottom; pools to 4 feet
    deep having mud bottom; width 15-30 feet.

     5. Little Wakarusa Creek, Sec. 7, T. 14 S, R. 21 E, May 2. Riffles
    6-8 inches deep having gravel bottom; pools to 3 feet deep; bottom
    gravel and mud; width 8 to 15 feet; water slightly turbid.

     6. Cole Creek, Sec. 21, T. 13 S, R. 20 E, May 2. Riffles 8-12 feet
    wide, 6 inches deep, bottom of flat, fragmented shale; pools
    having shale and mud bottom; water slightly turbid.

     7. Cole Creek, Sec. 10, T. 14 S, R. 20 E, May 2. Small, shallow
    creek having sand bottom; water slightly turbid.

     8. Cole Creek, Sec. 23, T. 14 S, R. 10 E, May 2. Banks steep, 20
    feet high; bottom sand and hard clay; water clear.

     9. Tributary to Yankee Tank Creek, Sec. 10, T. 13 S, R. 19 E, May
    14. Width 2-10 feet; bottom mud; water turbid.

    10. Washington Creek, Sec. 6, T. 14 S, R. 19 E, Feb. 26. Width
    _ca._ 25 feet; bottom rubble and gravel; water clear.

    11. Washington Creek, Sec. 11, T. 14 S, R. 18 E, Feb. 26, March 28,
    March 30, and Oct. 18. One-half mile below dam at Lone Star Lake;
    width 10-15 feet; bottom gravel; water clear.

    12. Tributary of east arm of Lone Star Lake, Sec. 13, T. 14 S, R.
    18 E, March 31. Width 5-7 feet; bottom limestone rubble; water

    13. Tributary of southeast arm of Lone Star Lake, Sec. 24, T. 14 S,
    R. 18 E, March 30.

    14. Tributary of southwest arm of Lone Star Lake, Sec. 22, T. 14 S,
    R. 18 E, March 30.

    15. Tributary to Rock Creek, Sec. 34, T. 13 S, R. 18 E, Feb. 26.
    Width 10 feet; water clear.

    16. Rock Creek, Sec. 7, T. 14 S, R. 18 E, July 25 and Oct. 18.
    Bottom gravel and mud; water clear.

    17. Rock Creek, Sec. 23, T. 14 S, R. 17 E, July 25. Rubble riffles;
    pools having mud and sand bottom; water clear.

    18. Wakarusa River, Sec. 14, T. 13 S, R. 18 E, July 23. Rubble
    riffles; pools having sand and mud bottom; water turbid.

    19. Coon Creek, Sec. 27, T. 12 S, R. 18 E, March 21. Bottom rubble
    and mud; water clear.

    20. Dry Creek, Sec. 8, T. 13 S, R. 18 E, May 16. Bottom rubble;
    water clear.

    21. Deer Creek, Sec. 4, T. 13 S, R. 18 E, July. Pools having mud
    bottom; rubble riffles; water turbid.

    22. Deer Creek, Sec. 31, T. 12 S, R. 18 E, March 21. Bottom mud and
    shale; water clear.

    23. Elk Creek, Sec. 2, T. 14 S, R. 17 E, July 25. Stream
    intermittent; bottom rubble; water turbid.

    24. Wakarusa River, 1/4 mi. NE mouth of Elk Creek, Sec. 26, T. 14
    S, R. 17 E, Oct. 17. Bottom mud and rubble; water turbid.

    25. Camp Creek, Sec. 12, T. 14 S, R. 16 E, Oct. 17. Upland creek
    having clear, flowing water; rubble riffles alternating with
    shallow pools.

    26. Strowbridge Creek, Sec. 11, T. 14 S, R. 16 E, July 25. Pools
    having bottom of mud and detritus, emitting malodorous gases;
    rubble riffles; water turbid.

    27. Tributary of Strowbridge Creek, Sec. 29, T. 14 S, R. 16 E, July
    30. Bottom rubble and mud; water clear, almost intermittent.

    28. Lynn Creek, Sec. 24, T. 13 S, R. 16 E, April 4. Bottom rubble,
    mud and gravel; depth more than 6 feet; water turbid.

    29. Lynn Creek, Sec. 14, T. 13 S, R. 16 E, May 27. Bottom mud and
    rubble; water turbid.

    30. Lynn Creek, Secs. 14 and 15, T. 13 S, R. 16 E, July 28. Pools
    having sand bottom; rubble riffles; water clear.

    31. Lynn Creek, Sec. 10, T. 13 S, R. 16 E, July 28. Bottom sand,
    rubble and mud; water clear.

    32. Tributary to Lynn Creek, Secs. 11 and 12, T. 13 S, R. 16 E, May
    16. Bottom rubble; water clear.

    33. Burys Creek, Sec. 8, T. 14 S, R. 16 E, July 25. Bottom mud,
    rubble and detritus; rubble riffles; water turbid.

    34. Wakarusa River, Sec. 28, T. 13 S, R. 16 E, July 28. Bottom mud
    and rubble; rubble riffles; water turbid.

    35. Unnamed tributary of Wakarusa River, Sec. 24, T. 13 S, R. 15 E,
    April 4. Bottom mud; water turbid.

    36. Six Mile Creek, Sec. 17, T. 13 S, R. 15 E, May 16. Bottom
    gravel and rubble; rubble riffles; water clear.

    37. Wakarusa River, Sec. 25, T. 13 S, R. 14 E, May 16. Bottom mud
    and coarse sand; water turbid.

    38. South Branch of Wakarusa River, Sec. 8, T. 14 S, R. 14 E, July
    30. Bottom rubble and gravel; water clear.

    39. South Branch of Wakarusa River, Sec. 5, T. 14 S, R. 13 E, July
    30. Bottom bedrock; flow slight; rubble riffles; water turbid.

    40. South Branch of Wakarusa River, Sec. 36, T. 13 S, R. 12 E, July
    30. Bottom mud; rubble riffles; water turbid.

    41. Middle Branch of Wakarusa River, Sec. 21, T. 13 S, R. 14 E,
    April 4. Bottom mud; gravel riffles; water turbid.

    42. Tributary of Middle Branch of Wakarusa River, Sec. 29, T. 13 S,
    R. 14 E, April 4. Bottom mud and bedrock; rubble riffles; water

_Annotated List of Species_

    _Lepisosteus osseus oxyurus_ Rafinesque. DM 2. The longnose gar is
    abundant in most large rivers of Kansas. The scarcity in the
    Wakarusa is probably attributable to the small size of the stream.

    _Lepisosteus platostomus_ Rafinesque. UMMZ 2. The shortnose gar is
    common in the Kansas River but seems less inclined than the
    longnose gar to ascend small streams.

    _Dorosoma cepedianum_ (LeSueur). UMMZ 2; DM 1. Gizzard shad.

    _Carpiodes velifer_ (Rafinesque). UMMZ 2. This record for the
    highfin carpsucker is based on a single specimen (UMMZ 63182). It
    was re-examined by Bernard Nelson who stated (personal
    communication) "The dorsal fin is broken and the 'pea-lip' smashed.
    A trace of the 'pea' is still discernible. The body is deeply
    compressed and other measurements agree with [those of] _C.
    velifer_. It was identified as _C. cyprinus_ at first, but later
    changed by Hubbs." _C. velifer_ probably was more abundant in
    Kansas during and before the early 1900's than at present. Several
    early records of the species are available, but the only specimen
    obtained in Kansas in recent years was captured in the Neosho River
    by Deacon in 1958.

    Moore (1957:80) states that _C. velifer_ occurs in the clearer
    rivers and lakes of the Mississippi valley, westward to Nebraska
    and Oklahoma. The almost complete disappearance of this species
    from Kansas probably resulted from an increase in turbidity, of the
    rivers, accompanying settlement and cultivation of the land.

    _Carpiodes carpio carpio_ (Rafinesque). KU 5, 12, 15; DM 1, 16, 21,
    37. The river carpsucker occurred at stations scattered throughout
    the drainage, except in the smallest creeks. The largest numbers
    were found in the lower mainstream.

    _Ictiobus cyprinella_ (Valenciennes). KU 10; UMMZ 2; DM 1. The
    big-mouth buffalo was taken only near the mouth of the river; black
    buffalo, _Ictiobus niger_ (Rafinesque) and smallmouth buffalo,
    _Ictiobus bubalus_ (Rafinesque), possibly also occur there but were
    not taken in our survey.

    _Catostomus commersonnii commersonnii_ (Lacépède). KU 4, 8, 14;
    UMMZ 1, 5; DM 10, 11, 15, 16, 21, 23, 25, 26, 27, 29, 34, 42. The
    white sucker occurs primarily in upstream-habitats in the Wakarusa

    _Moxostoma aureolum_ (LeSueur). KU 15; DM 1. The northern redhorse
    was taken only in downstream portions of the basin. Minckley and
    Cross (1960) regard specimens from the Wakarusa River as
    intergrades between _M. a. aureolum_ and _M. a. pisolabrum_.

    _Cyprinus carpio_ Linnaeus. KU 9, 12, 15; DM 1, 2. The carp, though
    most abundant in downstream situations, probably occurs throughout
    the drainage and is a potential pest in all impoundments likely to
    be constructed in the basin.

    _Notemigonus crysoleucas_ (Mitchill). KU 9; DM 9, 27, 33, 41. The
    golden shiner was found only in tributaries.

    _Semotilus atromaculatus_ (Mitchill). KU 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12,
    13, 14; UMMZ 4, 5; DM 3, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23,
    24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33. The creek chub was usually abundant
    in small upland tributaries.

    _Hybopsis biguttata_ (Kirtland). KU 1, 3; UMMZ 4. The hornyhead
    chub seemingly was common in early collections but has not been
    found since 1924. The fish characteristically inhabits clear
    streams having gravel-bottom. Disappearance of the species from the
    Wakarusa may have resulted from increased siltation and
    intermittency of flow.

    _Hybopsis storeriana_ (Kirtland). KU 10; UMMZ 3.

    _Hybopsis aestivalis_ (Girard). KU 10; UMMZ 3; DM 1. This species
    and the preceding one are common in the Kansas River but do not
    ascend far up the Wakarusa. _Hybopsis gelida_ (Girard) and
    _Hybopsis gracilis_ (Richardson) occur in the Kansas River and may
    be expected in the lowermost portion of the mainstream of the

    _Notropis percobromus_ (Cope). KU 12; DM 1, 2. The plains shiner
    shows little tendency to move far upstream from the Kansas River,
    where it is abundant.

    _Notropis umbratilis_ (Girard). KU 5, 11, 14; UMMZ 1, 4, 5; DM 9,
    10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 32, 33, 34, 35, 37,
    38, 39, 41. In our survey the redfin shiner was the most abundant
    species at several stations, especially at those in the lower and
    middle portions of tributaries to the mainstream.

    _Notropis cornutus frontalis_ (Agassiz). KU 1, 2, 3, 8, 11, 14; DM
    16. Judging from the numbers preserved in early collections, the
    common shiner was more abundant and widespread in the 1890's than
    in 1959. A watershed improvement program effecting more stable flow
    and decreased turbidity might benefit this shiner.

    _Notropis lutrensis_ (Baird and Girard). KU 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11,
    12, 13, 14, 15; UMMZ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5; DM all stations _except_ 5, 11,
    12, 13, 14, 19, 35. The red shiner was ubiquitous, and was the
    dominant species at a majority of stations.

    _Notropis stramineus_ (Cope). KU 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15; DM
    1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 24, 25, 31, 37. The sand
    shiner was most common in two environments: (1) near the mouth of
    the Wakarusa where abundance of the species may be attributed to
    the close proximity of a large population of _N. stramineus_ in the
    Kansas River, and (2) in upland tributaries that drain areas in
    which sand is found (especially in Cole Creek).

    _Notropis topeka_ (Gilbert). KU 1, 14; UMMZ 1, 4, 5; DM 22, 25, 27,
    33. Minckley and Cross (1959) describe the habitat of the Topeka
    shiner as pools of clear upland tributaries with slight flow. We
    found the Topeka shiner in such habitat in Deer Creek, Strowbridge
    Creek and Burys Creek. The largest population occurred in a
    tributary of Strowbridge Creek. This stream probably was
    intermittent in 1958, and Deer and Burys creeks may have been
    intermittent at some time in 1957-1959. Although Minckley and Cross
    (1959:215) have stated that Rock Creek is "unsuitable for this
    species," we suspect that Rock Creek served as a refugium for _N.
    topeka_ in time of drought. It was found there (KU 14) in 1952, and
    again (DM 16) on April 8, 1960.

    _Notropis buchanani_ Meek. UMMZ 3. Inclusion of the ghost shiner is
    based on two specimens (UMMZ 63107) collected by C. W. Creaser in

    _Phenacobius mirabilis_ (Girard). KU 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15;
    UMMZ 4; DM 3, 6, 16, 18, 21, 22, 34. The suckermouth minnow
    occurred in several collections but was nowhere dominant. The
    largest populations were at DM 3, 6, and 22.

    _Hybognathus nuchalis_ Agassiz. KU 8, 15; UMMZ 3; DM 1, 6. The
    silvery minnow was taken only in the downstream portion of the
    Wakarusa and its lower tributaries.

    _Pimephales promelas_ Rafinesque. KU 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14,
    15; UMMZ 1, 4, 5; DM all stations _except_ 1, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14,
    30. The fathead minnow was ubiquitous, and was dominant at several
    stations on the smallest creeks.

    _Pimephales notatus_ (Rafinesque). KU 1, 6, 11, 12, 14, 15; UMMZ 1,
    4, 5; DM 6, 8, 10, 12, 16, 17, 18, 24, 25, 26, 37, 41. The
    bluntnose minnow occurred at several stations on tributaries but
    was not common.

    _Campostoma anomalum_ (Rafinesque). KU 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14;
    UMMZ 4, 5; DM 3, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 24,
    25, 30, 32, 33, 34. The stoneroller was usually abundant at
    upstream stations and was found in the mainstream of the Wakarusa

    _Ictalurus punctatus_ (Rafinesque). KU 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15; DM
    1, 2, 18, 24. Channel catfish were taken by us only in the
    mainstream; anglers sometimes catch channel catfish in several of
    the tributaries.

    _Ictalurus melas_ (Rafinesque). Black bullhead. KU 1, 2, 5, 6, 9,
    14; UMMZ 2, 5; DM 5, 6, 7, 16, 17, 21, 25, 26, 31, 32, 33, 38, 39,

    _Ictalurus natalis_ (LeSueur). Yellow bullhead. KU 9, 14.

    _Pylodictis olivaris_ (Rafinesque). KU 8, 10; DM 18. The flathead
    catfish comprises a small but consistent part of the sport fishery
    of the Wakarusa, especially in the mainstream.

    _Noturus flavus_ Rafinesque. Stonecat. KU 10, 11, 12.

    _Noturus exilis_ (Nelson). DM 11. The slender madtom is recorded
    only from riffles in Washington Creek below Lone Star Lake. These
    riffles, because of the influence of the reservoir, are probably
    the most permanent in the drainage at present. The slender madtom
    may become more widespread if other reservoirs are built that
    stabilize stream flow in the basin.

    _Perca flavescens_ (Mitchill). The yellow perch is present in Lone
    Star Lake, and probably will become established in future
    reservoirs that are constructed.

    _Percina caprodes_ (Rafinesque). Log perch. KU 11, 14, 15; DM 11,
    12, 16, 37, 41.

    _Etheostoma nigrum_ Rafinesque. KU 8, 14; UMMZ 1, 3, 4, 5; DM 16,
    17. The johnny darter, like the common shiner, has been taken
    recently only in Rock Creek, where darters flourish. Often, ten to
    fifteen johnny darters were taken with one sweep of a 6- or 12-foot
    seine in shallow pools having mud bottoms. Watershed improvement
    may benefit this species.

    _Etheostoma spectabile pulchellum_ (Girard). KU 7, 10, 12, 14; UMMZ
    4, 5; DM 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26. The
    orangethroat darter was most abundant in Deer Creek, Rock Creek and
    Washington Creek.

    _Micropterus salmoides salmoides_ (Lacépède). DM 16, 17, 21, 30,
    32, 34, 37. The largemouth bass occurs throughout the drainage at
    present, and should become established without supplemental
    stocking in future reservoirs. The absence of this species in early
    collections suggests that widespread stocking of bass in various
    impoundments in the area in recent years has increased populations
    in the streams. An anomalous individual, lacking a right pelvic
    fin, was found in Lone Star Lake.

    _Chaenobryttus gulosus_ (Cuvier). The warmouth is present in Lone
    Star Lake. This species typically inhabits lakes and probably will
    establish itself in other reservoirs.

    _Lepomis cyanellus_ Rafinesque. Green sunfish. KU 6, 8, 9, 10, 11,
    13, 14, 15; UMMZ 2, 4, 5; DM all stations _except_ 11, 12, 13, 14,
    27, 30, 31, 39, 40.

    _Lepomis macrochirus_ Rafinesque. KU 6; DM 10, 16, 17, 24, 31, 33,
    37, 41, 42. Both bluegill and green sunfish are common throughout
    the drainage and will contribute to the sport fishery of any
    reservoir constructed. The absence of the bluegill in early
    collections suggests that its population has increased recently
    owing to introductions in many impoundments.

    _Lepomis humilis_ (Girard). Orangespotted sunfish. KU 6, 9, 11, 14,
    15; UMMZ 1, 2, 4, 5; DM 4, 6, 16, 17, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 32, 33,
    34, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42.

    _Lepomis megalotis breviceps_ (Rafinesque). Longear sunfish. KU 8
    (one individual taken in Rock Creek, 1951).

    _Pomoxis annularis_ (Rafinesque). KU 9, 15; UMMZ 2. White crappie
    occur in Lone Star Lake and in farm ponds in the basin.

    _Pomoxis nigromaculatus_ (LeSueur). Specimens of black crappie were
    obtained from Lone Star Lake and in farm ponds in the basin.

    _Aplodinotus grunniens_ Rafinesque. Drum. KU 12.


Our data show that the present fish-fauna of the Wakarusa River has
three major components:

(1) A group of species that are mainly restricted to the lower
mainstream; all of them are common in the Kansas River (_Lepisosteus
osseus_, _Carpiodes carpio carpio_, _Ictiobus cyprinella_, _Moxostoma
aureolum_, _Cyprinus carpio_, _Hybopsis storeriana_, _Hybopsis
aestivalis_, _Notropis percobromus_, _Hybognathus nuchalis_ and
_Pylodictis olivaris)_.

(2) A group of species that are ubiquitous; they comprised the entire
fauna in some tributaries, despite the existence of habitats that
seemed suitable for other species (_Notropis lutrensis_, _Pimephales
promelas_, _Ictalurus melas_, and _Lepomis cyanellus_).

(3) A group of species having distributions centered in Rock Creek,
Washington Creek, Deer Creek, and some nearby tributaries (_Catostomus
commersonnii_, _Semotilus atromaculatus_, _Hybopsis biguttata_,
_Notropis cornutus_, _Notropis topeka_, _Notropis umbratilis_,
_Phenacobius mirabilis_, _Pimephales notatus_, _Campostoma anomalum_,
_Noturus exilis_, _Percina caprodes_, _Etheostoma nigrum_ and
_Etheostoma spectabile_).

The distributions of groups (2) and (3) provide clues to the effect of
drought on the fish-population, and on the relative ability of various
species to repopulate areas where they have been extirpated.

Larimore _et al._ (1959) studied the re-establishment of stream-fish
following drought in Smiths Branch, a small warmwater stream in
Illinois. They found that 21 of the 29 species regularly occurring
there reinvaded most of the stream-course within two weeks after the
resumption of normal flow, and that all but three species were present
by the end of the first summer. Our study indicates a much slower rate
of dispersal by many of the same species. This is presumably
attributable to the ecological barrier presented by the Wakarusa

During the drought (1952-1956) the mainstream with its turbid water and
mud bottom could hardly have served as a refugium for species requiring
the clear water and gravel bottom of upland tributaries. Probably the
main refugia for these species [group (3)] were in the upper portions
of Rock Creek, Washington Creek and possibly Deer Creek. While
collecting we observed that these creeks had larger proportions of
gravel-rubble bottom, clearer water, deeper pools, and appeared to be
more stable than other creeks in the drainage. In Washington Creek,
Lone Star Lake enhanced stability of flow.

At the end of the drought, fishes in group (3) probably were extirpated
or decimated in other tributaries of the Wakarusa. After normal flow
recommenced in 1956, fishes re-entered the previously uninhabitable
streams or stream-segments. The rate of redispersal by various species
probably depended upon their innate mobility, and upon their tolerance
of the muddy mainstream of the Wakarusa.

Our observations suggest that certain species in group (3) dispersed
rapidly from refugia in Rock Creek, Washington Creek, and possibly Deer
Creek. These species may, of course, have survived in a few remaining
pools in tributaries throughout the basin, thereby necessitating only
minor redispersal within these tributaries following drought.

Species of group (3) that were most tolerant of drought or that
dispersed most rapidly are _Catostomus commersonnii_, _Notropis
umbratilis_, _Pimephales notatus_, and _Percina caprodes_; these were
present in the uppermost portions of the basin in 1959. Fishes having
lesser capacity for survival or dispersal are _Semotilus
atromaculatus_, _Notropis topeka_, _Phenacobius mirabilis_ and
_Campostoma anomalum_; in 1959, they were not found farther upstream
than Burys Creek. _Etheostoma spectabile_, the orangethroat darter, was
taken in Rock Creek, Washington Creek, Deer Creek, Strowbridge Creek,
Elk Creek, and at station 24 on the Wakarusa. This is a
riffle-dwelling, comparatively sedentary fish, not a strong swimmer.
These traits, coupled with the long, muddy pools and infrequent riffles
of the Wakarusa mainstream, provide a reasonable explanation of the
comparatively slow rate of dispersal by the orangethroat darter.

Several species showed no tendency for redispersal following drought,
in that they were confined to Washington Creek or Rock Creek in 1959.
_Noturus exilis_ was taken only in Washington Creek immediately below
Lone Star Lake. Rock Creek is the last stream in the Wakarusa Basin in
which _Notropis cornutus_, _Hybopsis biguttata_ and _Etheostoma nigrum_
have survived. These species require comparatively permanent streams
having pool-and-riffle habitats and gravelly bottoms for spawning.
_Hybopsis biguttata_ has been recorded only from Rock Creek, where it
was last taken in 1924. It is interesting to note that this species had
not reinvaded Smiths Branch, in Illinois, three years after the
resumption of stream-flow (Larimore _et al._, 1959). _Notropis
cornutus_ and _Etheostoma nigrum_, although formerly more widespread in
the Wakarusa Basin, have been taken recently only in Rock Creek.

Faunal changes that have occurred in the basin in the past 60 years
indicate a decrease in extent of clear, continuously flowing

_Comparisons with Faunas of Nearby Streams_

Minckley (1959) reported 13 species from the Big Blue River Basin that
were not taken in our survey of the Wakarusa. Most of the 13 are fishes
that probably occur throughout the lower mainstream of the Kansas River
and might enter the lower Wakarusa occasionally. _Chrosomus
erythrogaster_ and _Notropis rubellus_ were reported by Minckley but
have not been found in the Kansas River Basin east of the Flint Hills,
either in recent or in early collections. On the other hand, five
species have been reported from the Wakarusa but not from the Big Blue
River. Two of these, _Notemigonus crysoleucas_ and _Chaenobryttus
gulosus_, may have been introduced by man. The remaining three,
_Hybopsis biguttata_, _Noturus exilis_ and _Percina caprodes_, have not
been taken farther west than Mill Creek, Wabaunsee County. In general
the faunas of the two systems are similar; forty species are common to

Comparison of the faunal list reported from the Cottonwood River
drainage (Arkansas River System) by Cross (1954) with that here
reported reveals 26 species in common, 19 found only in the Wakarusa
and 15 species found only in the Cottonwood.


    We thank Dr. Frank Cross, Mr. Bernard Nelson and Mr. Wendell
    Minckley for their suggestions and data, and Mrs. James E. Deacon
    for assistance in preparation of the manuscript. We are grateful
    also to landowners in the Wakarusa Basin for permitting us to
    collect on their properties, to Mr. Melvon H. Wertzberger for
    varied assistance, and to The Kansas Forestry, Fish and Game
    Commission for financial assistance to one of us. The Kansas State
    Board of Health and the Water Resources Board supplied pertinent

_Literature Cited_


1954. Fishes of Cedar Creek and the South Fork of the Cottonwood River,
Chase County, Kansas. Trans. Kansas Acad. Sci. 57:303-314.


1958. Quaternary geology and ground water resources of Kansas River
Valley between Bonner Springs and Lawrence, Kansas. Kansas Geol. Surv.
Bull. 130, Part 1, pp. 1-96.


1943. The Mollusca of the Wakarusa River Valley. Univ. Kansas Sci.
Bull. 29(9):363-439.


1959. Destruction and re-establishment of stream fish and invertebrates
affected by drought. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc, 88(4):261-285.

F. M.

1958. Emergency use of reclaimed water for potable supply at Chanute,
Kansas. Jour. Amer. Water Works Assoc. 50(8):1021-1060.


1959. Fishes of the Big Blue River Basin, Kansas. Univ. Kansas Mus.
Nat. Hist, Publ. 11(7):401-442.


1959. Distribution, habitat, and abundance of the Topeka shiner,
_Notropis topeka_ (Gilbert) in Kansas. Amer. Midi. Nat. 6(1):210-217.

1960. Taxonomic status of the Shorthead Redhorse, _Moxostoma aureolum_
(LeSueur) from the Kansas River Basin, Kansas. Trans. Kansas Acad. Sci.


1957. Fishes. _Transmitted November 8, 1960._ Vertebrates of the United
States, by Blair, W. F., Blair, A. P., Brodkorb, P., Cagle, F. R., and
Moore, G. A. McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, New York, pp. 31-210.

Todd, J. E.

1911. History of Wakarusa Creek. Trans. Kansas Acad. Sci. 24:211-218.

_Transmitted November 8, 1960._


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