We characterised microhabitat availability and use by adult and young-of-year (YOY) snail darters (Percina tanasiEtnier 1976) while snorkelling in the French Broad and Hiwassee rivers, TN, USA. Both age groups of snail darters disproportionately used most microhabitat variables compared to their availability. Snail darters primarily occupied moderately deep, swift water over gravel substrates with little macrophyte coverage and no silt. Univariate comparisons indicated that adult and YOY darters occupied different habitat, but there was no marked differences between principal components analysis plots of multivariate microhabitat use within a river. Although the availability of microhabitat variables differed between the French Broad and Hiwassee rivers, univariate means and multivariate plots illustrated that the habitats used were generally similar by age groups of snail darters between rivers. Because our observations of habitat availability and use were constrained to low flow periods and depths <1 m, the transferability of our results to higher flow periods may be limited. However, the similarity in habitat use between rivers suggests that our results can be applied to low-normal flow conditions in other streams. ?? Published 2010. This article is a US Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.
Additional publication details
Summer microhabitat use by adult and young-of-year snail darters (Percina tanasi) in two rivers