Pelagic-broadcast spawning minnows are a reproductive guild of fishes, of which several species occur in the American Great Plains and Southwest. The eggs and larvae of these species drift laterally and downstream, with drift distances varying depending on channel conditions and flow. Persistence or recolonization of these species in upstream reaches must depend on retention of eggs and larvae or upstream dispersal of later life stages, otherwise net downstream displacement of eggs and larvae would result in upstream extirpations. However, only a few individuals of several species have been observed dispersing. Here, we describe 2 direct visual observations of the young-of-year of 4 species of pelagic-broadcast spawning minnows dispersing upstream en masse. In August 2009, we observed Plains Minnow (Hybognathus placitus), Speckled Chub (Macrhybopsis aestivalis), and Rio Grande Shiner (Notropis jemezanus) dispersing upstream. The continuous shoal of fish was >200 m in length and was dispersing upstream at a rate of >1000 fish/min. In July 2017, we observed a continuous shoal of Rio Grande Silvery Minnow (Hybognathus amarus) approximately 1.9 km in length dispersing upstream at a rate between 350 and 1500 fish/min. While such dispersal events are rarely observed, they may be important for maintenance of populations in upstream areas.
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Vol. 78 • No. 1