Segregation by species and size classes of rainbow trout, Salmo gairdneri, and Sacramento sucker, Catostomus occidentalis, in three California streams

TitleSegregation by species and size classes of rainbow trout, Salmo gairdneri, and Sacramento sucker, Catostomus occidentalis, in three California streams
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1984
AuthorsBaltz, D. M., & Moyle P. B.
JournalEnvironmental Biology of Fishes
Volume10
Issue1-2
Pagination101-110
Date Published02/1984
ISSN0378-1909
KeywordsCompetition, Microhabitat, Overlap, Stream temperature
AbstractThe hypothesis that Sacramento suckers, Catostomus occidentalis, compete with rainbow trout, Salmo gairdneri, for space in streams was examined by measuring microhabitat utilization of both species in three California streams. Two streams were similar in most respects except one contained only trout and one contained trout and a large population of suckers. The third stream, formed by the union of the first two, contained trout and a small population of suckers. The species overlapped in five of the six microhabitat variables measured: maximum depth, mean water column velocity, focal point velocity, surface water velocity, and substrate type. However, the species had strong vertical segregation; there was little overlap between species in focal point depth. Mean focal point velocities were also significantly different. Suckers roamed over and generally remained in contact with the bottom while trout held position in the water column. Microhabitat utilization by trout in the stream without suckers was similar to in the stream with a higher sucker density. Differences in microhabitat utilization by trout between the third stream and the other two was attributed to the larger size of the third stream. Both sucker and trout showed a similar within-species segregation of size classes - fish under 50 mm in length sought shallow water. Size-specific trends indicated ontogenic shifts in resource utilization which reduced overlap within species. These results suggest that competition for space between trout and suckers was not a major factor regulating microhabitat utilization of trout, although the possibility that larger suckers may displace small trout needs further study.
URLhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF00001666
DOI10.1007/BF00001666