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Ecology of the River Darter in Canadian Waters: Distribution, Relative Abundance, Life-History Traits, Diet, and Habitat Characteristics

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Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 2E5, Canada
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Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N6, Canada
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Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Burlington, ON L7S 1A1, Canada
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Thilina Surasinghe
Diversity 2016, 8(4), 22; https://doi.org/10.3390/d8040022
Received: 2 June 2016 / Revised: 21 September 2016 / Accepted: 11 October 2016 / Published: 25 October 2016
The River Darter (Percina shumardi) is a native, rarely sampled fish that has been detected in relatively small numbers since the 1930s. It has a wide North American distribution, but little is known about the species biology and distribution across the Canadian portion of its range. We revisited many historic sampling locations and sampled additional areas to (i) confirm and update the distribution of River Darters in Canadian waters; (ii) assess relative abundance; (iii) update life history characteristics; (iv) collect diet information; and (v) identify characteristics of River Darter habitat. Since 1990, a total of 1032 River Darters were recorded from 29 waterbodies across three ecoregions. River Darters were observed in relatively high abundances in both the Saskatchewan-Nelson River and Southern Hudson Bay-James Bay ecoregions. While still extant in the Great Lakes-Upper St. Lawrence ecoregion, River Darters persist at low abundance. Life history analyses indicate similar maximum age (age 4) and growth (10 mm/year) to conspecific populations in the United States, while sex ratios are generally skewed towards female dominance. River Darter populations had high flexibility in habitat use and diet, using a range of flows and depths and a variety of seasonally available prey types. View Full-Text
Keywords: Percina shumardi; conservation status; location; population assessment; growth; food habits Percina shumardi; conservation status; location; population assessment; growth; food habits
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Pratt, T.C.; Gardner, W.M.; Watkinson, D.A.; Bouvier, L.D. Ecology of the River Darter in Canadian Waters: Distribution, Relative Abundance, Life-History Traits, Diet, and Habitat Characteristics. Diversity 2016, 8, 22.

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