Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Animal Science

Major Professor

David A. Etnier

Committee Members

James T. Tanner, D. L. Bunting


This thesis reports the results of a survey of the fishes of the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River system in Tennessee and Kentucky. This system represents the southeasterly extension of the Cumberland River system.

The survey was conducted from June, 1968, to September, 1969, with the majority of the collecting being made in the summer months of both years. A variety of collecting techniques were employed. These included ten and twenty-foot small mesh seine nets, thirty and sixty-foot bag seines, gill nets and sodium cyanide.

A total of sixty-four collections are included, sixty-one made by the author, and three by other investigators. These yielded sixty-three species of fishes. Several additional species are included in the paper. These were reported in the literature as being taken at one time or another from the system, but were not taken in the present study, and thus may or may not be still present.

Contained in this thesis is a list of the species of fishes collected in the system, with notes on their habitat and distribution, both within the system, and in comparison with other systems. Included also is a literature survey and a description of the river system with notes on the current state of pollution in the system.

A discussion of the species distribution is included, and possible reasons for the distribution are given. Results of the survey indicate a strong possibility for stream capture between the Big South Fork system and other parts of the Cumberland River system. However, more investigation is needed in this regard.

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