Larval and juvenile stages of many fishes require nursery habitats that provide optimal conditions for growth. Loss or degradation of these habitats limits recruitment, causing population and species declines. Least chub (Iotichthys phlegethontis), an endemic cyprinid in the Bonneville Basin, is currently restricted to a few spring complexes in Utah. This species utilizes the warm shallow spring margins as spawning and rearing habitat throughout the summer. This study was conducted to determine effects of temperature on survival and growth of age-0 least chub to understand the importance of temperature in selection of spring margins as rearing habitat. Age-0 least chub were exposed to 5 temperatures (14°C, 17°C, 21°C, 24°C, and 27°C) for 112 days. Growth rates varied significantly with temperature except at 17°C and 27°C, and growth rates were highest at 21°C (P < 0.001). Maximum growth rate for age-0 least chub, estimated from a 2nd-order polynomial regression, would occur at 22.3°C. These thermal requirements indicate the importance of warm rearing habitats in producing strong year classes and viable populations. However, warm spring margins also enable western mosquitofish, a nonnative competitor and predator of least chub, to thrive in these spring habitats. Broad thermal limits of the least chub suggest that it could persist at cooler temperatures, which would reduce the viability of western mosquitofish populations.
Billman, Eric J.; Wagner, Eric J.; and Arndt, Ronney E.
"Effects of temperature on the survival and growth of age-0 least chub (Iotichthys phlegethontis),"
Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 66
, Article 4.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol66/iss4/4