Influence of Substrate Composition on Distribution of Eastern Sand Darters (Ammocrypta Pellucida) in the Poultney River

  • Douglas E. Facey
  • Shannon M. O’Brien
Conference paper


Eastern sand darters (Ammocrypta pellucida) are a threatened species in both New York and Vermont and have become rare in other parts of their range, in part due to their dependence on clean, sandy substrates in large rivers. Field observations suggest that eastern sand darters are more likely to be found in fine sand than in coarser sand or gravel. The goal of this study was to evaluate the habitat used by eastern sand darters in the Poultney River, and characterize more specifically the sizes of sediment particles that they seem to use most often. Between July 30 and August 7, 2001, we collected sediment and fishes, and measured water velocity and depth, in 99 different sample plots located along a one-mile stretch of the Poultney River on the New York-Vermont border. The areas we sampled were all less than one meter deep and had a velocity that was less than 1 m/sec. Our study indicated that eastern sand darters seem to be more common in areas with a substrate made up of a high percentage of particles between 0.12 and 0.54 mm in size. Fewer eastern sand darters were found in areas that had high percentages of particles greater than 1.0 mm. This suggests that eastern sand darters are very selective about the habitat in which they live and might, therefore, be affected by fluctuations or changes in the composition of the substrate within that habitat.


Percent Composition Sediment Composition Substrate Composition Sandy Substrate York State Department 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas E. Facey
    • 1
  • Shannon M. O’Brien
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologySaint Michael’s CollegeColchesterUSA

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