Quantitative sampling of fish was performed in five headwater riffles of the Illinois River System, Washington County, Arkansas during low flow conditions. This study revealed differing fish species composition, biomass and feeding guild segregation between head and tail riffle reaches in 1st through 3rd order. Thirty species representing 10 families were identified. Of this number, darters (Percidae), sculpins (Cottidae), madtoms (Ictaluridae), and central stonerollers (Campostoma anomalum) (Cyprinidae) comprised 67 to 98 percent of riffle head populations. Fish biomass was greater for riffle head areas (0.58-6.6/0.28-2.0 g/m2 ) within sectivores and herbivores dominating. Total fish numbers decreased from riffleheads to tails, while number of species increased. Dominant fish groups in tail areas were minnows (Cyprinidae), darters (Percidae), and sunfishes (Centrarchidae). Feeding guild fish groups in tail areas were predominately insectivore and insectivore-piscivore. Stomach analysis of Cottus carolinae, the dominant headwater riffle predator, indicated selective feeding of macrobenthic invertebrates and fish based on size class. Abundance of herbivore and insectivore fishes in riffles, particularly head reaches, suggests a correlation with positive rheotaxic behavior, microhabitat preference or abundance of macrobenthic invertebrate populations.
Ebert, Danny J.; Brown, Arthur V.; and Fielder, Carolyn B.
"Distribution of Fish Within Headwater Riffles of the Illinois River System, Washington County, Arkansas,"
Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science: Vol. 41
, Article 13.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uark.edu/jaas/vol41/iss1/13