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Distribution and abundance of fish and crayfish in a Waikato stream in relation to basin area

The aim of this study was to relate the longitudinal distribution of fish and crayfish to increasing basin area and physical site characteristics in the Mangaotama Stream, Waikato region, North Island, New Zealand. Fish and crayfish were captured with two-pass removal electroshocking at 11 sites located in hill-country with pasture, native forest, and mixed land uses within the 21.6 km2 basin. Number of fish species and lineal biomass of fish increased with increasing basin area, but barriers to upstream fish migration also influenced fish distribution; only climbing and non-migratory species were present above a series of small waterfalls. Fish biomass increased in direct proportion to stream width, suggesting that fish used much of the available channel, and stream width was closely related to basin area. Conversely, the abundance of crayfish was related to the amount of edge habitat, and therefore crayfish did not increase in abundance as basin area increased. Densities of all fish species combined ranged from 17 to 459 fish 100 m-2, and biomass ranged from 14 to 206 g m-2. Eels dominated the fish assemblages, comprising 85-100% of the total biomass; longfinned eels the majority of the biomass at most sites. Despite the open access of the lower sites to introduced brown trout, native species dominated all the fish communities sampled.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Hicks, B.J. (2003). Distribution and abundance of fish and crayfish in a Waikato stream in relation to basin area. New Zealand Journal of Zoology. 30(2), 149-160.
SIR Publishing
The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, New Zealand Journal of Zoology, 30(2), (2003), (c) Royal Society of New Zealand at the Royal Society of New Zealand Journals Online webpage.