Comparative resource use by two species of black bass in riverine and impounded sections of the New River, Virginia

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Virginia Tech

Two species of black bass, smallmouth bass Micropterus dolomieu and spotted bass Micropterus punctulatus, are sympatric in both riverine and impounded sections of the New River, Virginia. Resource use (habitat and diet) by the two species was investigated to determine patterns and extent of resource partitioning between them and how those patterns might differ between lotic and lentic environments. Individual fitness indicators (i.e., growth and body condition factor) were also measured to assess performance of populations of the two species in the study areas. Fitness indicators suggested relatively good performance of both species in both river and impoundment, which implied that competitive pressures were not intense. Diet analyses indicated fairly high overlap in prey types consumed. High fitness combined with considerable diet overlap suggested that food availability was adequate, and that segregation in this impounded river system was not on a trophic basis. The two species were found to segregate spatially, with spotted bass predominant in the impoundment and smallmouth more abundant in the river. Spatial segregation was also apparent within both river and impoundment habitat types.

Spotted bass