Ammocrypta clara Jordan and Meek (western sand darter) occurs primarily in the western portions of Mississippi River system, but also has been reported from a Lake Michigan drainage and a few eastern Texas Gulf Slope rivers. Additional range records depict a semi-disjunct distribution within the Ohio River drainage, including collections from Wabash River in Indiana, the Cumberland, Green, Kentucky and Big Sandy rivers of Kentucky, and the upper Tennessee River in Tennessee and Virginia. This paper documents the occurrence of A. clara from the upper Ohio River drainage within the lower Elk River, West Virginia, based on collections from 1986, 1991, 1995, 2005 and 2006. The Elk River population, consistent with those of other Ohio River drainages, has slightly higher counts for numbers of dorsal-fin rays, scales below lateral line and lateral line scales when compared to data from populations outside of the Ohio River drainage. Modal counts of meristic characters are similar among populations, except for higher modal counts of lateral line scales in the Ohio River population. The discovery of the Elk River population extends the range distribution of A. clara in the Eastern Highlands region, documents wide distributional overlap and additional sympatry with its sister species, A. pellucida (eastern sand darter), and softens support for an east-west Central Highlands vicariance hypothesis for the present distribution of A. clara and A. pellucida. ?? 2010, American Midland Naturalist.
Additional Publication Details
Discovery of ammocrypta clara (western sand darter) in the upper Ohio river of West Virginia