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Title: Use of a flooded bottomland hardwood wetland by fishes in the Cache River System, Arkansas
Authors: Baker, John A.
Killgore, K. Jack
Keywords: Cache River (Ark.)
Collection methods
Floodolain habitats
Species composition
Publisher: U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment Station
Series/Report no.: Technical Report (Wetlands Research Program (U.S.)) ; no. Technical Report WRP-CP-3
Abstract: Species composition and relative abundance of larval and adult fishes were evaluated in flooded bottomland hardwood wetlands of the Cache River system, Arkansas. Fishes were collected for two consecutive years during the reproductive season (March-June) in the channel and floodplain of the Cache River. Multiple sampling gears were used to evaluate the importance of three distinct habitats: channel, tupelo forest, and oak forest. A total of 10,770 larval and juvenile fishes were collected, representing at least 36 different species. Pirate perch was numerically the most common larval fish species collected. Percidae (darters) was the dominant family, comprising at least seven species and approximately 40 percent of the total number of larval fish collected. Cyprinidae (minnows) and Centrarchidae (sunfish) were the next dominant families. Spotted sucker, channel catfish, and flier were sporadically abundant during the study. More larval fish species were caught in the channel but numerical abundance was highest in the oak habitat. Of the 32 species collected in the channel, however, 5 species were represented by only a single individual. A total of 30 species were collected in the oak habitat, and this assemblage represented 54 percent of the total number of larval fish collected during the 2-year study. Of these 30 species, 13 taxa were most abundant in this habitat. The tupelo habitat yielded 27 species, ten of which were most common in this habitat. Larval fish abundance was lowest in the channel. The relative abundance of most larval fishes (minnows, pirate perch, sunfish, and darters) was 2 to 4 times higher in late spring 1989 than in any other sampling period. These high numbers of fish corresponded to higher, more prolonged water levels on the floodplain in late winter and early spring 1989 compared to substantially lower water levels during the same time period in 1988. Early summer samples yielded the fewest number of fishes in both years. In terms of individual species, river darters were most abundant during early spring samples, while logperch were more common in late spring and early summer. Pirate perch were most abundant in early and late spring and declined to low numbers by early summer. A number of other less common taxa appeared in moderate to large numbers during some sampling periods. Examples of these include channel catfish (late spring, and particularly early summer 1989), gars and spotted sucker (mostly early summer 1988 and 1989), and flier (late spring 1989). A total of 2,412 adult fishes, representing 51 species were collected. Species known to make migratory runs during the spawning season were present. These included freshwater drum, smallmouth buffalo, and black buffalo. Adult species collected primarily in the tupelo habitat were black buffalo, cypress minnow, several small sunfishes, and golden shiner. Channel species were channel catfish, freshwater drum, smallmouth buffalo, and longear sunfish. The Cache River wetlands are important spawning and rearing areas to many species of fish, particularly pirate perch, sunfishes, spotted sucker, and numerous species of darters and minnows. Some species, such as suckers, may use the floodplain for only a short period to deposit eggs and rear young. These fishes depend on inundated floodplains during the reproductive season. Other species permanently reside in floodplains as both larvae and adults. Heterogeneity of habitats in the floodplain and channel contributes to high species richness, but late winter and spring floods that inundate oak forest appear to be a major factor in regulating abundance of bottomland hardwood wetland fishes.
Description: Technical Report
Gov't Doc #: Technical Report WRP-CP-3
Rights: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Size: 76 pages
Types of Materials: PDF
Appears in Collections:Technical Report

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