Chrosomus cumberlandensis - (Starnes and Starnes, 1978)
Blackside Dace
Synonym(s): Phoxinus cumberlandensis Starnes and Starnes, 1978
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Phoxinus cumberlandensis Starnes and Starnes, 1978 (TSN 163591)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.106572
Element Code: AFCJB31010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Fishes - Bony Fishes - Minnows and Carps
Image 12020

Public Domain

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Actinopterygii Cypriniformes Cyprinidae Chrosomus
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 20. 183 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B91ROB01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Phoxinus cumberlandensis
Taxonomic Comments: See Starnes and Starnes (1978) for original description. A population in Cox Creek, Lee County, Virginia, may represent an undescribed species.

This species formerly was included in the genus Phoxinus. Based on patterns of genetic variation, Strange and Mayden (2009) reassigned all North American Phoxinus species to the genus Chrosomus.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 03Nov2011
Global Status Last Changed: 18Sep1997
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: Small range in tributaries of the upper Cumberland River in Kentucky and Tennessee, and in a tributary of the North Fork Powell River in Virginia; range has been reduced and fragmented by surface coal mining; populations occur in several dozen small, isolated stream reaches; threatened by siltation caused by human activities, impacts of unregulated acid mine drainage, impoundments, and possibly competition from an introduced dace.
Nation: United States
National Status: N2 (18Sep1997)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Kentucky (S2), Tennessee (S2), Virginia (S1)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LT: Listed threatened (12Jun1987)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R4 - Southeast
IUCN Red List Category: VU - Vulnerable
American Fisheries Society Status: Threatened (01Aug2008)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 1000-5000 square km (about 400-2000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Range includes small tributaries in the Cumberland Plateau portion of the upper Cumberland River above Cumberland Falls and a few kilometers below (Etnier and Starnes 1993), in Pulaski, Laurel, McCreary, Whitley, Knox, Bell, Harlan, and Letcher counties in Kentucky, and Scott, Campbell, and Claiborne counties in Tennessee (USFWS 1988). The species also occurs in Cox Creek, a small tributary of the North Fork Powell River in Lee County, Virginia (though this population could turn out to be an undescribed species) (2001 Endangered Species Bulletin 25(3):39). Page and Burr (2011) did not mention Virginia in their range description.

Area of Occupancy: 101-500 1-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: Williams et al. (1989) and O'Bara (1990) reported that this species was then known to occupy approximately 27 stream kilometers (in 35 stream reaches). Extensive surveys in 1993-1994 documented the presence of blackside dace in several dozen additional streams (additional stream kilometers unknown) (Laudermilk data; Eisenhour and Stange 1998). Assuming that the number of known occupied stream kilometers increased by an order of magnitude (which may be an overestimate), the area of occupancy would be around 270 square kilometers (based on a 1 x 1 km grid).

Number of Occurrences: 21 - 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a large number of occurrences (subpopulations). At the time of federal listing, the species was known to occupy about 14 stream miles (23 kilometers) in 30 separate streams (USFWS 1987, 1988). Subsequently Williams et al. (1989) reported that populations occurred in 35 isolated stream reaches totaling 27 kilometers. Extensive surveys in 1993 documented the presence of at least 27 more streams containing blackside dace (Eisenhour and Stange 1998). Subsequent surveys (see following) have found this dace in additional streams.

In Kentucky, the species is known from at least 91 streams; during a 1993-1994 survey the species was verified extant in 72 streams, but only 22 streams supported excellent or good populations; most populations were very small and near extirpation (Laudermilk data).

In Tennessee, this dace has been documented in at least a couple dozen localities, but these may represent only a few metapopulations or population clusters (P. Shute, pers. comm., 1997). Etnier and Starnes (1993) reported that only six small populations were then known to occur in Tennessee.

Populations of this species are relatively mobile; if extirpated may, recolonize in a short time, provided appropriate habitats for refugia and dispersal routes are available (P. Shute, pers. comm., 1997).

Population Size: 2500 - 100,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but probably is at least several thousand. Most populations are small and consist of only a few individuals in short (0.1-1.0 kilometers) segments of suitable habitat (O'Bara 1990). The densest populations include an estimated 55-75 individuals per 100 square meters of stream (Starnes and Starnes 1981).

During a 1993-1994 survey in Kentucky, approximately 1,065 individuals were observed; many streams where this species is known to occur were not intensively surveyed; one intensively surveyed site produced over 500 individuals (Laudermilk data).

Overall Threat Impact: Very high - high
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Threatened status is due primarily to impacts of siltation from coal mining, silviculture, agriculture, and road construction, and impacts of unregulated acid mine drainage and impoundments; these factors still constitute a threat (USFWS 1987, 1988). Additional threats include channelization and non-point source pollution (Laudermilk 1995). The southern redbelly dace (Phoxinus erythrogaster), a comparatively more recent (geologically) component of the upper Cumberland River basin fauna, is now present in many basin streams (Starnes 1981, Starnes and Starnes 1987). The redbelly dace is believed to have outcompeted and displaced blackside dace from some stream habitats where the water and habitat quality have been altered (i.e., stream bank modification, channel modification, and forest cover modification) to create warmer and more turbid conditions (Starnes 1981). Introductions of non-native predaceous fishes (e.g., Oncorhynchus mykiss) may have a negative effect on the remaining populations (Leftwich et al. 1995). Remaining populations are small and isolated from each other by extremely degraded habitat, and the exchange of genetic material among some of these populations is likely infrequent or nonexistent. If isolation continues, some of the smaller populations may have insufficient genetic variability to maintain long-term viability (USFWS 1988). Site visitation is not detrimental (P. Shute, pers. comm., 1997). The species is regarded as very threatened in Tennessee (Peggy Shute, pers. comm., 1997).

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Short-term Trend Comments: Current trends are not well known, but area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size appear to be declining or at least many subpopulations are vulnerable to extirpation. Many populations in Kentucky are extremely small or isolated and near extirpation (Laudermilk data), so probably the species is declining in that state. The species is believed to be stable in Tennessee, but it is susceptible to rapid fluctuations in population size and distribution (P. Shute, pers. comm., 1997). Etnier and Starnes (1993) characterized the remaining populations in Tennessee as "all very localized and vulnerable to extirpation...." Many streams that formerly supported populations have been destroyed; status of populations has fluctuated greatly over the past decade (Shute et al., unpublished data).

Long-term Trend: Decline of 30-70%
Long-term Trend Comments: Historical distribution was likely much more continuous than at present, but the degree of decline is uncertain. Now small populations are isolated from each other by extremely degraded habitat. The species has been extirpated from at least 10 streams (O'Bara 1990), and probably many others were extirpated before they could be discovered (Starnes and Starnes 1978).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Continuous monitoring of known populations and nearby suitable habitat that could be colonized is needed to assess trends (Laudermilk).

Distribution
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Global Range: (1000-5000 square km (about 400-2000 square miles)) Range includes small tributaries in the Cumberland Plateau portion of the upper Cumberland River above Cumberland Falls and a few kilometers below (Etnier and Starnes 1993), in Pulaski, Laurel, McCreary, Whitley, Knox, Bell, Harlan, and Letcher counties in Kentucky, and Scott, Campbell, and Claiborne counties in Tennessee (USFWS 1988). The species also occurs in Cox Creek, a small tributary of the North Fork Powell River in Lee County, Virginia (though this population could turn out to be an undescribed species) (2001 Endangered Species Bulletin 25(3):39). Page and Burr (2011) did not mention Virginia in their range description.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States KY, TN, VA

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
KY Bell (21013), Harlan (21095), Knox (21121), Laurel (21125), Letcher (21133), McCreary (21147), Pulaski (21199), Whitley (21235)
TN Campbell (47013), Claiborne (47025), Scott (47151)
VA Lee (51105), Scott (51169)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
05 Upper Cumberland (05130101)+, Rockcastle (05130102)+, Upper Cumberland-Lake Cumberland (05130103)+, South Fork Cumberland (05130104)+
06 Upper Clinch (06010205)+, Powell (06010206)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed (based on multiple information sources) Help
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A small fish (dace).
Reproduction Comments: Spawns in May and June. Life span probably is 3 or 4 years.
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, Moderate gradient, Pool
Habitat Comments: This species inhabits small upland headwaters and creeks 2-5 meters wide where riffle and pool areas are about equal, and substrates are sand, sandstone, and shale (Burr and Warren 1986, Etnier and Starnes 1993). It occurs in pools with cover such as bedrock, rubble, undercut banks, or brush, and generally is associated with lush riparian vegetation, canopy cover greater than 70%, cool water, and unsilted conditions. The species can apparently recolonize areas when water quality or habitat conditions become more favorable if suitable dispersal corridors exist (Strange and Burr 1995). Blackside dace exist as metapopulations (groups of local populations for which dispersal corridors are very important in the persistence of individual local populations) (Strange and Burr 1995).
Adult Food Habits: Herbivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Ingests detritus, diatoms, algae, and (seasonally) insects.
Length: 6 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: This species appears to be intolerant of surface coal mining; these activities should be discontinued in dace-occupied basins (Eisenhour and Strange 1998). Wide riparian zones need to be maintained, land management practices that minimize siltation should be implemented (Eisenhour and Strange 1998).
Management Requirements: Spawning protocols are being established (J. R. Shute and P. L. Rakes, pers. comm., cited by Eisenhour and Stange 1998), in case reintroduction becomes necessary.
Biological Research Needs: The minimum number of individuals needed for a viable population needs to be determined. Better information is needed on the extent genetic exchange occurring between small, isolated populations (Laudermilk. Analysis of stream habitat requirements would be useful in linking habitat use patterns to potential changes in land use within a watershed (Leftwich et al. 1995).
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Small Cyprinids

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including eggs and larvae) in appropriate habitat.
Separation Barriers: Dam lacking a suitable fishway; high waterfall; upland habitat. For some species (e.g., slender chub), an impoundment may constitute a barrier. For others (e.g., flame chub) a stream larger than 4th order may be a barrier.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Data on dispersal and other movements generally are not available. In some species, individuals may migrate variable distances between spawning areas and nonspawning habitats.

Separation distances (in aquatic kilometers) for cyprinids are arbitrary but reflect the presumption that movements and appropriate separation distances generally should increase with fish size. Hence small, medium, and large cyprinids, respectively, have increasingly large separation distances. Separation distance reflects the likely low probability that two occupied locations separated by less than several kilometers of aquatic habitat would represent truly independent populations over the long term.

Because of the difficulty in defining suitable versus unsuitable habitat, especially with respect to dispersal, and to simplify the delineation of occurrences, a single separation distance is used regardless of habitat quality.

Occupied locations that are separated by a gap of 10 km or more of any aquatic habitat that is not known to be occupied represent different occurrences. However, it is important to evaluate seasonal changes in habitat to ensure that an occupied habitat occurrence for a particular population does not artificially separate spawning areas and nonspawning areas as different occurrences simply because there have been no collections/observations in an intervening area that may exceed the separation distance.

Date: 21Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 06Apr2012
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G., and M. K. Clausen
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 16Jan2008
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Baxter, John T., Jr. 1997. Fish fauna of the upper Cumberland River drainage in Tennessee. M.S. thesis, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. 101 pp.

  • Biggins, R. G. 1988. Recovery plan for blackside dace (Phoxinus cumberlandensis). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region, Atlanta. 19 pp.

  • Bivens, R. D., B. Carter, and C. E. Williams. 1995. Annual stream fishery data collection report. Region IV. Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Fisheries Report 95-60. 183 pp.

  • Burr, B. M., and M. L. Warren, Jr. 1986a. Distributional atlas of Kentucky fishes. Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission, Scientific and Technical Series No. 4, Frankfort, Kentucky. 398 pp.

  • Cicerello, R. R., and E. L. Laudermilk. 1996. Nesting association of the cyprinid fishes Phoxinus cumberlandensis and Semotilus atromaculatus (Cyprinidae). Trans. Kentucky Acad. Sci. 57:47-48.

  • Eisenhour, D. J., and R. M. Strange. 1998. Threatened fishes of the world: Phoxinus cumberlandensis Starnes & Starnes, 1978 (Cyprinidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes 51:140.

  • Endangered Species Information System. 1996. October 1-last update. Fish and Wildlife Information Exchange-VA Tech. Online. Available: http://www.fw.vt.edu/fishex/esis.html. Accessed 1997, April 8.

  • Etnier, D. A., and W. C. Starnes. 1993. The fishes of Tennessee. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, Tennessee. xiv + 681 pp.

  • Etnier, David A. and Wayne C. Starnes. 1993. The Fishes of Tennessee. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville. 681 pp.

  • Jelks, H. L., S. J. Walsh, N. M. Burkhead, S. Contreras-Balderas, E. Díaz-Pardo, D. A. Hendrickson, J. Lyons, N. E. Mandrak, F. McCormick, J. S. Nelson, S. P. Platania, B. A. Porter, C. B. Renaud, J. Jacobo Schmitter-Soto, E. B. Taylor, and M.L. Warren, Jr. 2008. Conservation status of imperiled North American freshwater and diadromous fishes. Fisheries 33(8):372-407.

  • Lee, D. S., C. R. Gilbert, C. H. Hocutt, R. E. Jenkins, D. E. McAllister, and J. R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, North Carolina. i-x + 854 pp.

  • Leftwich, K. N., M. K. Underwood, and C. A. Dolloff. 1995. Distribution and abundance of blackside dace Phoxinus cumberlandensis in Middle Fork Beaver Creek. Center for Aquatic Technology Transfer, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Science, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia. 6+ pp.

  • Matthews, J.R. and C.J. Moseley (eds.). 1990. The Official World Wildlife Fund Guide to Endangered Species of North America. Volume 1. Plants, Mammals. xxiii + pp 1-560 + 33 pp. appendix + 6 pp. glossary + 16 pp. index. Volume 2. Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians, Fishes, Mussels, Crustaceans, Snails, Insects, and Arachnids. xiii + pp. 561-1180. Beacham Publications, Inc., Washington, D.C.

  • Nelson, J. S., E. J. Crossman, H. Espinosa-Perez, L. T. Findley, C. R. Gilbert, R. N. Lea, and J. D. Williams. 2004. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 29, Bethesda, Maryland. 386 pp.

  • O'Bara, C. J. 1985. Status survey of the blackside dace (Phoxinus cumberlandensis). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Asheville, North Carolina.

  • O'Bara, C. J. 1990. Distribution and ecology of the blackside dace, Phoxinus cumberlandensis (Osteichthyes: Cyprinidae). Brimleyana 16:9-16.

  • Ono, R.D., J.D. Williams, and A. Wagner. 1983. Vanishing Fishes of North America. Stone Wall Press, Washington, DC. 257 pp

  • Page, L. M., H. Espinosa-Pérez, L. T. Findley, C. R. Gilbert, R. N. Lea, N. E. Mandrak, R. L. Mayden, and J. S. Nelson. 2013. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Seventh edition. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 34, Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes: North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 432 pp.

  • Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 2011. Peterson field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Second edition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. xix + 663 pp.

  • Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 20. 183 pp.

  • Starnes, L. B., and W. C. Starnes. 1981. Biology of the blackside dace Phoxinus cumberlandensis. American Midland Naturalist 106:360-371.

  • Starnes, W. C. 1981. Listing package for the blackside dace (Phoxinus cumberlandensis). Report to the U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, 100 Otis Street, Room 224, Asheville, NC. 41 pp. plus Appendices A and B.

  • Starnes, W. C., and L. B. Starnes. 1978a. A new cyprinid of the genus Phoxinus endemic to the upper Cumberland River drainage. Copeia 1978:508-516.

  • Starnes, W. C., and L. B. Starnes. 1978b. Status report on a new and threatened species of Phoxinus from the upper Cumberland Drainage. Southeastern Fishes Council Proceedings 2:2, 2 pp.

  • Strange, R. M., and B. M. Burr. 1995. Genetic variability and metapopulation dynamics in the federally threatened blackside dace, Phoxinus cumberlandensis (Pisces: Cyprinidae). Unpublished final report to Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Frankfort. 21 pp.

  • Strange, R. M., and R. L. Mayden. 2009. Phylogenetic relationships and a revised taxonomy for North American cyprinds currently assigned to Phoxinus (Actinopterygii: Cyprinidae). Copeia 2009:494-501.

  • Strange, R.M., and R.L. Mayden. 2009. Phylogenetic relationships and a revised taxonomy for North American cyprinds currently assigned to Phoxinus (Actinopterygii: Cyprinidae). Copeia 2009(3): 494-501.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1987. Determination of threatened species status for the blackside dace. Federal Register 52:22580-5.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1988. Blackside dace recovery plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta, Georgia. 23 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1990. Endangered and threatened species recovery program: report to Congress. 406 pp.

  • Williams, J.E, J.E. Johnson, D.A. Hendrickson, S. Contreras-Balderas, J.D. Williams, M. Navarro-Mendoza, D.E. McAllister, and J.E. Deacon. 1989b. Fishes of North America endangered, threatened or of special concern: 1989. Fisheries 14(6):2-20.

References for Watershed Distribution Map
  • Chapman, T. 2000. Regional news and recovery updates, Region 5. Blackside Dace (Phoxinus cumberlandensis). Endangered Species Bulletin 25(3):39.

  • State Natural Heritage Data Centers. 1996a. Aggregated element occurrence data from all U.S. state natural heritage programs, including the Tennessee Valley Authority, Navajo Nation and the District of Columbia. Science Division, The Nature Conservancy.

  • State Natural Heritage Data Centers. 1996c. Aggregated element occurrence data from all U.S. state natural heritage programs, including the Tennessee Valley Authority, Navajo Nation and the District of Columbia: Export of freshwater fish and mussel records from the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1997. Science Division, The Nature Conservancy.

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