We study the variation of the trace of the Frobenius endomorphism associated to a cyclic trigonal curve of genus g over forumla as the curve varies in an irreducible component of the moduli space. We show that for q fixed and g increasing, the limiting distribution of the trace of Frobenius equals the sum of q + 1 independent random variables taking the value 0 with probability 2/(q + 2) and 1, ei/3, ei/3 each with probability q/(3(q + 2)). This extends the work of Kurlberg and Rudnick who considered the same limit for hyperelliptic curves. We also show that when both g and q go to infinity, the normalized trace has a standard complex Gaussian distribution and how to generalize these results to p-fold covers of the projective line.

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