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Use of fine-scale current refuges by fishes in a temperate warm-water stream

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Abstract:

Laboratory studies suggest that fishes are capable of using fine-scale structures to avoid swimming. Similar structures occur as dips, ripples, and eroded areas behind protruding rocky materials, within the riffle–run–pool–margin structure of streams. It is not known if laboratory-determined capabilities are used to avoid swimming in the field. I measured current speeds for in-stream structures from coarse-scale riffle–run–pool–margin to fine-scale substratum ripples and determined fish locations in these structural features during the day and night. During the day, most fishes were seen in pools, margins, and runs, which is consistent with indirect responses to predation. At night, fishes from runs and ripples moved to the lowest current speeds, including those provided by fine-scale structures in the bottom of runs and riffles with dimensions comparable to minima used in laboratory settings.

Des études de laboratoire laissent croire que les poissons sont capables d’utiliser des structures à échelle fine pour éviter la nage. De telles structures existent sous forme de dépressions, d’ondulations et de zones érodées derrière les formations rocheuses en saillie dans l’agencement rapide–coulée–fosse–bord des cours d’eau. On ne sait pas si ces habiletés des poissons observées en laboratoire sont utilisées en nature pour éviter la nage. Les vitesses de courant ont été mesurées sur des structures dans le cours d’eau à une échelle grossière dans l’agencement rapide–coulée–fosse–bord et à une échelle plus fine sur les ondulations du substrat; la position des poissons sur ces différentes structures a été déterminée durant le jour et la nuit. La plupart des poissons se retrouvent durant le jour dans les fosses, les bords et les coulées, ce qui est compatible avec une réaction indirecte à la prédation. La nuit, les poissons des coulées et des rapides se déplacent vers les zones de courant les plus faibles, y compris celles générées par les structures à échelle fine dans le fond des rapides et des coulées; les dimensions de ces structures sont comparables aux dimensions minimales utilisées dans les montages de laboratoire.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2006

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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