Etheostoma chienense - Page and Ceas, 1992
Relict Darter
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Etheostoma chienense Page and Ceas in Page, Ceas, Swofford and Buth, 1992 (TSN 201991)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.105789
Element Code: AFCQC02B00
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Fishes - Bony Fishes - Perches and Darters
Image 12013

Public Domain

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Actinopterygii Perciformes Percidae Etheostoma
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Page, L. M., P. A. Ceas, D. L. Swofford, and D. G. Buth. 1992. Evolutionary relationships within the Etheostoma squamiceps complex (Percidae; subgenus Catonotus) with descriptions of five new species. Copeia 1992:615-646.
Concept Reference Code: A92PAG01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Etheostoma chienense
Taxonomic Comments: This species was included in E. neopterum by Braasch and Mayden (1985); described as a distinct species in Page et al. (1992).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 07Dec2011
Global Status Last Changed: 24Sep1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Occurs in a very small area of the Bayou du Chien system in western Kentucky; small population; spawning sites very limited; threatened by poor water quality and general habitat deterioration.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1 (05Dec1996)

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 (S1)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LE: Listed endangered (27Oct1993)
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R4 - Southeast
IUCN Red List Category: EN - Endangered
American Fisheries Society Status: Endangered (01Aug2008)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: <100 square km (less than about 40 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Range includes only the Bayou du Chien system, Graves and Hickman counties, western Kentucky (Page et al. 1992; Piller and Burr 1998, 1999; Page and Burr 2011). Surveys in the 1990s found the species in an area encompassing approximately 35 stream-kilometers (Piller and Burr 1998, 1999).

Area of Occupancy: 5-100 1-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: Surveys in the 1990s found this species in 16 sites, with evidence of reproduction at 12 of these sites (6 of the 12 sites yielded only 1-2 nests with eggs); these sites represent not more than a few distinct occurrences.

Population Size: 250 - 2500 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but apparently very small. The sites of greatest abundance support only about 80-100 individuals (Warren et al. 1994).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very few (1-3)

Overall Threat Impact: Very high - high
Overall Threat Impact Comments: The single known spawning area is in an unprotected agricultural area (Page et al. 1992). Habitat has been and continues to be impacted by poor water quality and habitat deterioration resulting from stream channelization, siltation caused by poor land use practices, and by other water pollutants (USFWS 1992, 1993). This darter's limited distribution makes it vulnerable to toxic chemical spills (USFWS 1994).

Warren et al. (1994) reported that "probable historic reasons that may have restricted the spawning area, habitat, and distributional extent of the relict darter include: channelization of extensive reaches of the mainstem of Bayou du Chien with concomitant homogenization of instream habitat as well as dewatering of floodplain tributaries; ditching of tributaries and removal of shade-producing riparian vegetation and concomitant decrease in habitat and increase in maximum stream temperatures; increased siltation associated with poor agricultural practices; and deforestation and drainage of riparian wetlands with concomitant decreases in instream low flow, especially in potential spawning areas. All of these factors have continued potential to reduce or eliminate the species."

Jelks et al. (2008) categorized this species as Endangered due to (1) present or threatened destruction, modification, or reduction of a taxon's habitat or range and (2) restricted range.

Short-term Trend: Unknown

Long-term Trend:  
Long-term Trend Comments: Area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, population size, and habitat quality likely have declined over the long term, but the degree of decline is unknown.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Search for additional populations should be continued (USFWS 1994). However, Warren et al. (1994) concluded that it is extremely unlikely that additional populations will be found outside the immediately adjacent drainage area of Bayou du Chien. Long-term monitoring of darter populations and watershed conditions is needed (Warren et al. 1994).

Protection Needs: Piller and Burr (1999) recommended that management focus on habitat protection and restoration rather than captive propagation and stocking of individuals. The most important needs are restoring riparian buffer zones to headwater tributaries, reducing channelization and ditching, and educating private landowners about the needs of this species.

Distribution
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Global Range: (<100 square km (less than about 40 square miles)) Range includes only the Bayou du Chien system, Graves and Hickman counties, western Kentucky (Page et al. 1992; Piller and Burr 1998, 1999; Page and Burr 2011). Surveys in the 1990s found the species in an area encompassing approximately 35 stream-kilometers (Piller and Burr 1998, 1999).

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 state or province

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

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
KY Fulton (21075)*, Graves (21083), Hickman (21105)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
08 Bayou De Chien-Mayfield (08010201)+
+ 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 2-inch fish (darter).
General Description: A small fish with two dorsal fins, large rounded pectoral fins, thoracic pelvic fins, and a rounded tail fin; maximum standard length is 71.4 mm (Page et al. 1992).

Morphologically distinguished by characterisitics of breeding males, which are gray or dark brown on the dorsum and sides, and light tan on the venter; bright breeding colors do not develop; head and nape are greatly swollen and black (obscures nonbreeding pattern). First dorsal fin is black except for a clear basal band; a small white or light yellow knob is present on the tip of each spine, and there is a small black spot (often faint) on the fin membrane immediately anterior to each knob; a small clear triangle behind each knob narrows into a narrow clear margin; a small clear teardrop posterior to each spine is two-thirds the distance from the base of the spine to its margin. The second dorsal fin is densely covered with melanophores and has a clear basal band; there are 4-5 clear ovals on the basal two-thirds of each ray (ovals often extend onto membrane); bars are not present on the portion of the rays extending beyond the fin membrane; there is a small white knob on the tip of each ray (Page et al. 1992). The caudal fin has 5-9 dark bands alternating with clear to yellow bands; the bands become increasingly wider and darker distally; there is a narow clear margin. The middle spot on the caudal fin base is darker than the other two. The anal and pelvic fins are dusky to black with a narrow clear margin (Page et al. 1992).

Females, nonbreeding males, and juveniles have brown mottling on a light tan background; dorsum may be crossed by six to eight small dark brown saddles; venter is white and unmarked; the head has dark pre- and post-orbital bars (Page et al. 1992).

Diagnostic Characteristics: Differs from E. olivaceusm, E. nigripinne, E. corona, and E. forbesi, E. crossopterum, and E. squamiceps by having two branches per dorsal fin ray (Page et al. 1992). Differs from E. pseudovulatum, E. neopterum, and E. oophylax by having modally 13 dorsal rays, more pored lateral line scales, and by possessing, in breeding males, a small white (rather than large yellow) knob on the tip of each dorsal ray and 4-5 horizontal rows of clear ovals on the basal two-thirds of the second dorsal fin (Page et al. 1992).
Reproduction Comments: Spawns probably in spring. Sexually mature probably at 1-2 years.
Ecology Comments: Warren and Burr (1991, unpublished report) captured 1-46 individuals at five sites.
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, Low gradient, Moderate gradient
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: Habitat includes sandy pools of headwaters and creeks (Page and Burr 2011). Bayou du Chien is a typical sandy Coastal Plain stream system (Page et al. 1992). Individuals are concentrated in headwaters in slow-flowing pools, usually associated with gravel, sand, and leaf litter substrates near fallen tree branches, undercut banks, or overhanging streambank vegetation (USFWS 1992). The species appears to have a strong affinity for undercut banks and adjacent narrow, shallow (<25 cm), moderately flowing runs underlain with sandy gravel (Warren et al. 1994). Some individuals have been found within 1-2 meters of the stream bank under objects such as leaf litter, partially submerged logs and sticks, and human refuse (Piller and Burr 1999).

Eggs are attached to the undersides of stones or similar artificial substrates (Piller and Burr 1999).

Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Diet probably is dominated by aquatic insects and small crustaceans (USFWS 1994).
Length: 6 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Restoration Potential: Available habitat for restoration is very limited; recovery is not likely (USFWS 1994).
Management Requirements: USFWS (1994) listed the following needed actions: determine threats and alleviate those that threaten the species' existence; solicit assistance of local landowners and initiate "Partners for Wildlife" projects to improve riparian habitat; develop and utilize an information/education program; through augmentation or reintroduction, protect and establish viable populations, with spawning occurring in five tributaries or main-stem stream reaches.

Potential nest productivity may be enhanced by adding artificial spawning substrates (half-cylindrical ceramic tiles) to shallow, low-flow reaches in headwaters (Pillar and Burr 1999).

Biological Research Needs: Better information is needed on life history requirements (USFWS 1994). Sites suitable for reintroduction need to be identified (Warren et al. 1994).
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Darters

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.
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. Though larvae of some species may drift with the current, Turner (2001) found no significant relationship between a larval transport index and gene flow among several different darter species.

Separation distances are arbitrary but reflect the likely low probability that two occupied locations separated by less than several kilometers of aquatic habitat would represent truly independent populations.

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 generally 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: 07Dec2011
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 07Dec2011
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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  • Braasch, M. E., and R. L. Mayden. 1985. Review of the subgenus Catonotus (Percidae) with descriptions of two new darters of the Etheostoma squamiceps species group. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas No.119. 83 pp.

  • Burr, B. M., and M. L. Warren, Jr. 1996. Threatened fishes of the world: Etheostoma chienense Page & Ceas, 1992 (Percidae). Environmantal Biology of Fishes 47:142.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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., P. A. Ceas, D. L. Swofford, and D. G. Buth. 1992. Evolutionary relationships within the Etheostoma squamiceps complex (Percidae; subgenus Catonotus) with descriptions of five new species. Copeia 1992:615-646.

  • 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.

  • Piller, K. R., and B. M. Burr. 1998. Distribution and population estimates of the federally endangered relict darter, Etheostoma chienense, Bayou du Chien, Kentucky. Journal of the Kentucky Academy of Science 59:64-75.

  • Piller, K. R., and B. M. Burr. 1999. Reproductive biology and spawning habitat supplementation of the relict darter, Etheostoma chienense, a federally endangered species. Environmental Biology of Fishes 55(1-2):145-155.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1992. Proposal to list the relict and bluemask (=jewel) darters as endangered species. Federal Register 57(239):58774-58779. 11 December 1992.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1993. Determination of endangered status for the relict darter and bluemask (=jewel) darter. Federal Register 58(246):68480-6.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1994. Relict darter technical/agency draft recovery plan. Atlanta, Georgia. 44 pp.

  • Warren, M. L., Jr., B. M. Burr, and C. A. Taylor. 1994. The relict darter, Etheostoma chienense (Percidae): status review of a Kentucky endemic. Transactions of the Kentucky Academy of Science 55(1-2):20-27.

References for Watershed Distribution Map
  • 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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