Analysis of Microhabitat Preference of the Mountain Madtom, Noturus eleutherus
The mountain madtom (Noturus eleutherus) is a small, benthic catfish occurring in several drainages in the eastern United States. Very little is known about this species’ life history and ecology. In this project, we specifically examined water column depth and substrate preferences of the mountain madtom in the Clinch River, Tennessee, during summer months. Knowledge gained from our project may provide insight for understanding microhabitat preferences of the endangered pygmy madtom (Noturus stanauli) because it has been associated with the mountain madtom in past collections. Madtoms were collected by kick-seining, depth was measured in kick-seined area, and sediment was collected using the shovel method. The water depth category most frequently used by mountain madtoms was 31–40 cm; however, there were no statistically significant differences among depth categories. In addition, there was not a strong preference for a particular substrate size. These results provide a better understanding of habitat of the mountain madtom during the summer.