Seasonal patterns of microhabitat selection in the Southern Iberian spined-loach Cobitis paludica



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Elvira Payán, Benigno and Nicola, Graciela G. and Ayllón, Daniel and Almodóvar Pérez, Ana María (2022) Seasonal patterns of microhabitat selection in the Southern Iberian spined-loach Cobitis paludica. Aquatic Sciences, 84 (3). pp. 1-12. ISSN 1015-1621, Electronic: 1420-9055

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The Southern Iberian spined-loach Cobitis paludica is an Iberian endemism threatened by human activities, including habitat destruction. For this reason, the development of conservation and the recovery plans for the species calls for a precise knowledge of its habitat requirements. Here, microhabitat use and selection patterns were investigated to determine the limiting factors for the species in diferent seasons, corresponding to a gradient in fow conditions. The microhabitat of the loach was analysed in the River Jarama (Tagus River basin, central Spain) in the period of maximum activity between March and September 2013. No signifcant diferences in microhabitat use were found between males and females, and only very weak ontogenetic changes were detected. The microhabitat used by the loach varied signifcantly throughout the study period, generally adapting to the fow-mediated dynamics of available habitat. The most stable pattern throughout the year was the use of very low water velocities. Additionally, the loach made selective use of certain microhabitat features, with slight adjustments to the seasonally changing habitat conditions. The loach signifcantly selected positions with abundant silt substrate and aquatic vegetation, and avoided coarser substrates. The availability of fne substrates and abundant vegetation is therefore a critical habitat requirement for the loach, which needs instream structures that provide foraging substrate, refuge and safe positions for spawning. Selection of refuge elements (deep habitats, aquatic vegetation) was especially apparent under low-fow conditions. Human activities leading to the loss of these critical microhabitats may threaten the survival of already scarce loach populations.

Item Type:Article
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CRUE-CSIC (Acuerdos Transformativos 2022)

Uncontrolled Keywords:Cobitidae; Freshwater fish; Habitat management; Restoration; River; Stream
Subjects:Medical sciences > Biology > Ecology
Medical sciences > Biology > Fishes
ID Code:72498
Deposited On:27 May 2022 12:14
Last Modified:30 May 2022 07:08

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