Substrate Selection by Fantail (Etheostoma flabellare), Greenside (E. blennioides), and Rainbow (E. caeruleum) Darters

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The seasonal substrate preferences of fantail, greenside, and rainbow darters were examined in a laboratory stream tank. The fantail darter, tested singly or in the presence of congeners, exhibited a strong preference for the largest substrates (i.e., pebble, cobble-boulder) in all seasons. The percentage of observations of fantail darters on pebble and cobble-boulder substrates ranged from 44.3% to 71.1%. Of the three species examined, the greenside darter showed the greatest preference for the largest substrates. The percentage of observations on the pebble and cobble-boulder substrates for this species ranged from 52.1% to 73.9%. In contrast to the other species, the rainbow darter used all substrates with approximately equal frequency. The results of similarity analyses revealed high levels of overlap (>0.600) in substrate use among the three species in all seasons. However, interspecific differences in morphology, foraging method, and foraging area may reduce the potential for competition for space among these species.


Author Institution: Department of Zoology, Miami University



The Ohio Journal of Science. v86, n3 (June, 1986), 124-129