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Influence of geomorphology on fish fauna of a small Mississippi bluffline stream

Scott Stephen Knight, Terry Douglas Welch
Journal of environmental science and engineering. B 2015 v.4 pp. 169-176
Aphredoderus sayanus, Cyprinella, Ictiobus bubalus, Lepisosteus oculatus, Lepomis macrochirus, adults, environmental factors, erosion control, fauna, fish, habitats, hills, loess, predation, soil erosion, species diversity, streams, Mississippi
Fish were collected from 39 sites on the main channel and major tributaries of a highly erosive stream, Hotophia Creek, which cuts through the loess hills of northern Mississippi. Collections were part of a study to document ecological and environmental conditions of the creek before and during construction designed to control bank instability and soil erosion. A total of 2642 specimens representing 38 species were collected between 1986 through 2003. The bluntface shiner Cyprinella camura was the dominant species of fish and when grouped with other cyprinids accounted for 38.0 % of the total numbers collected. By weight, Lepisosteus oculatus, Lepomis megalotis, Ictiobus bubalus, and Lepomis macrochirus were the dominant species; accounting for 49.9 % of the total catch. Fish species attaining large adult sizes such as buffalo and gar were associated with stream types that contained deeper water habitats. While more diminutive species such as cyprinids that might be subject to predation by large fish more frequently were found in shallow channels. Fishes with specific habitat requirement such as the pirate perch were found in the middle group of sites, that were disturbed by erosion process but that featured the necessary habitat requirements. Sensitive or intolerant species like the Yazoo darter, creek chubsucker and cyprinids in general were more frequently found in the undisturbed and habitat complex channels. This study supports the hypothesis that geomorphological stream stages are associated with specific communities of fishes.