Howdy! I’m standing in a riffle! That’s what we call shallow rapids in rivers and creeks. Riffles usually have gravel and rock bottoms.
Riffles may not seem to have many critters in them, but if you look closely, you will see that they are full of life. Let’s have a closer look.
Many different kinds of aquatic insects live in riffles. Some eat algae, others eat leaves that fall in the water, while some even eat other insects. Riffles are also home to crawfish, mussels, and fish.
Hungry birds and mammals find lots of food in riffles. It’s also a great breeding area for many aquatic species.
The action of the fast flow over the shallow bottom mixes air into the water that aquatic organisms need to breathe. It also stirs up food items that settle to the bottom.
Riffles are a very important part of river ecosystems. Next time you walk along a creek or river, and spot a riffle, notice what is going on there!
See you again real soon.