Percina squamata - (Gilbert and Swain, 1887)
Olive Darter
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Percina squamata (Gilbert and Swain in Gilbert, 1887) (TSN 168498)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.102566
Element Code: AFCQC04280
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Fishes - Bony Fishes - Perches and Darters
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Actinopterygii Perciformes Percidae Percina
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
Help
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: Percina squamata
Taxonomic Comments: Morphological differences between upper Tennessee and Cumberland populations suggest that a genetic study of possible polytypy should be conducted (Starnes 1995).
Conservation Status
Help

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3
Global Status Last Reviewed: 02Aug2012
Global Status Last Changed: 31Aug2000
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Occurs in the upper Tennessee and Cumberland river systems in four states; apparently has declined in distribution and abundance as a result of siltation, channelization, impoundment, and agricultural and urban runoff; not easily collected by traditional survey methods, so current status and trend are not well documented.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3 (31Aug2000)

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 Georgia (S1), Kentucky (S1), North Carolina (S2), Tennessee (S2)

Other Statuses

American Fisheries Society Status: Vulnerable (01Aug2008)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Localized distribution includes the headwaters of the Tennessee River system from the Holston River system (Watauga River) downstream as far as the Hiwassee River system, including the Emory River, in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia; and the middle Cumberland River drainage below the falls, primarily in the Rockcastle River and Big South Fork, in Kentucky and Tennessee (Burr and Warren 1986, Etnier and Starnes 1993, Page and Burr 2011).

Area of Occupancy:  
Area of Occupancy Comments: Area of occupancy is unknown but not extensive.

Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20
Number of Occurrences Comments: The number of distinct occurrences (subpopulations) is uncertain but probably is not more than a couple dozen. However, the habitat of this species is not easily sampled using conventional fish survey methods, so it is not unlikely that the species occurs in streams in which it has not yet been found.

The Tennessee Valley Authority has documented approximately 30 collection sites in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. The number of locations with extant populations probably does not exceed 20, with most populations in poor condition. The species has not been collected recently in several historical sites, where it occurred as recently as the 1970s (P. Shute, pers. comm., 1997).

In Kentucky, this species has been documented in 8 sites, but most records are old. The species has been found recently in a few sites in one stream system.

In North Carolina, there are approximately 18 documented sites of unknown condition; but the species has not been extensively sought (H. LeGrand, pers. comm., 1997).

Population Size: 2500 - 1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but presumably is at least several thousand. The olive darter has been described as localized but relatively common in a few streams (Page and Burr 1991, 2011), sporadic and rare in Kentucky (Burr and Warren 1986), not abundant (P. Shute, pers comm., 1997), and occurring in low numbers in the French Broad, Hiawassee, Little Tennessee, and Nolichucky river systems of North Carolina (Rohde et al.1998). However, Etnier and Starnes (1993) noted that "although the olive darter is not well represented in collections, it is often a very abundant and successful species in localized suitable habitats."

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Few to some (4-40)
Viability/Integrity Comments: The number of occurrences with good viability is not precisely known but likely does not exceed 20.

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: The habitat and darter distribution probably have been much reduced by storage reservoirs, especially in the Tennessee River drainage (Etnier and Starnes 1993). Within the Tennessee Valley Authority region, this species is very threatened by siltation, channelization, impoundment, and agricultural and urban runoff (P. Shute, pers. comm., 1997). In Tennessee, this species is officially listed as a species in need of management (Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission). Based on extirpations from several streams in North Carolina and restriction to unpolluted streams, the species is probably unusually sensitive to siltation and other pollution (Braswell 1991). The olive darter is state-listed as endangered in Kentucky, where it is believed to be moderately threatened (R. Cicerello, pers. comm., 1997). It occurs in mountain streams that are not very threatened in North Carolina (H. LeGrand, pers. comm., 1997). It is state-listed as a threatened species in Georgia.

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Short-term Trend Comments: Distribution and abundance probably are still declining, but the rate of decline over the past 10 years or three generations is uncertain.

Historically, and even as recently as the 1970s, the species was known from Big South Fork of the Cumberland River, Watauga River of the Holston System, and the mainstem French Broad River, but no recent collections of P. squamata have been made from these streams (P. Shute, pers. comm., 1997).

In Kentucky, the olive darter has been collected recently (during the period 1984-2005) only in the Rockcastle River (Kentucky Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy), where populations may be stable (R. Cicerello, pers. comm., 1997). The olive darter may be extirpated in Big South Fork, the only other system in which the species has been found in Kentucky.

Populations are probably stable in North Carolina (H. LeGrand, pers. comm., 1997), but most information is old, and status is difficult to assess. The species has been extirpated from several North Carolina streams (Braswell 1991; Rohde et al., in press).

Long-term Trend: Decline of <70% to Relatively Stable
Long-term Trend Comments: Over the long term, the area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size have declined, but the rate of decline is not precisely known.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Much of the available distributional information is old; better information is needed on current distribution and abundance. Monitoring to assess long term trends is needed.

Distribution
Help
Global Range: (20,000-200,000 square km (about 8000-80,000 square miles)) Localized distribution includes the headwaters of the Tennessee River system from the Holston River system (Watauga River) downstream as far as the Hiwassee River system, including the Emory River, in North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia; and the middle Cumberland River drainage below the falls, primarily in the Rockcastle River and Big South Fork, in Kentucky and Tennessee (Burr and Warren 1986, Etnier and Starnes 1993, Page and Burr 2011).

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 GA, KY, NC, TN

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
GA Fannin (13111), Rabun (13241)
KY Jackson (21109), Laurel (21125), McCreary (21147)*, Pulaski (21199), Rockcastle (21203), Whitley (21235)*
NC Cherokee (37039), Haywood (37087), Henderson (37089), Jackson (37099), Macon (37113), Madison (37115), Mitchell (37121), Swain (37173), Yancey (37199)
TN Cumberland (47035), Fentress (47049), Morgan (47129), Polk (47139), Scott (47151), Unicoi (47171)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
05 Upper Cumberland (05130101)+*, Rockcastle (05130102)+, South Fork Cumberland (05130104)+
06 Watauga (06010103), Upper French Broad (06010105)+, Pigeon (06010106)+, Nolichucky (06010108)+, Upper Little Tennessee (06010202)+, Tuckasegee (06010203)+, Emory (06010208)+, Hiwassee (06020002)+, Ocoee (06020003)+
+ 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
Help
Basic Description: A small fish (darter).
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): High gradient, MEDIUM RIVER, Moderate gradient, Pool, Riffle
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: Habitat includes small to medium upland rivers, including high-gradient streams in chutes with moderate to torrential current over rubble and boulders, deeper downstream portions of gravel riffles in streams of moderate gradient, and sometimes shallow pools with gravel or rock bottoms (Comiskey and Etnier 1972; Burr and Warren 1986; Etnier and Starnes 1993; C. F. Saylor, personal communication). These very narrow habitat requirements may contribute to low vagility. Presently, little is known about how far individuals are capable of traveling through unsuitable habitat (e.g., extensive low gradient runs, pools, or impoundments) to reach preferred sites, but it is plausible that an area with poor habitat for a considerable distance would hinder dispersal. Distributional records for streams in the upper end of Fontana Reservoir provide some indication, however, that these areas (relatively short distances through impoundments) may be used as dispersal routes (especially when reservoir is at low pool levels). However, there are no data to indicate that the species is a resident component of the reservoir fish community.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Length: 11 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Help
Management Summary
Help
Biological Research Needs: Better information on life history and ecology is needed (Braswell 1991).
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Help
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
Help
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Help
Authors/Contributors
Help
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 02Aug2012
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Clausen, M. K., and G. Hammerson
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 28Jan2008
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G., B. D. Hart, and P. W. Shute

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

References
Help
  • Braswell, A.L. 1991. Scientific council report on the conservation status of North Carolina freshwater fishes. Chairman A.L. Braswell. Submitted to the Nongame Advisory Committee of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Kuehne, R. A., and R. W. Barbour. 1983. The American Darters. University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky. 177 pp.

  • 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.

  • 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. 1983a. Handbook of Darters. T. F. H. Publications, Inc., Neptune City, New Jersey. 271 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.

  • Page, LM, H.Espinoza-Perez, L.Findley, C.Gilbert, R. Lea, N. Mandrak, R.Mayden and J.Nelson. 2013. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico, 7th edition. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 34, Bethesda, Maryland.

  • 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.

  • Rohde, F. C., R. G. Arndt, D. G. Lindquist and J. F. Parnell. 1994. Freshwater Fishes of the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware. University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 222 pp.

  • Rohde, F.C., M.L. Moser, and R.G. Arndt. 1998. Distribution and status of selected fishes in North Carolina, with a new state record. Brimleyana 25:43-68.

  • Simbeck, D. J. 1990. Distribution of the fishes of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. MS thesis, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. 128 pp.

  • Starnes, W. C. 1995. Taxonomic validation for fish species on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Category 2 species list. 28 pp.

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.

Use Guidelines & Citation

Use Guidelines and Citation

The Small Print: Trademark, Copyright, Citation Guidelines, Restrictions on Use, and Information Disclaimer.

Note: All species and ecological community data presented in NatureServe Explorer at http://explorer.natureserve.org were updated to be current with NatureServe's central databases as of March 2018.
Note: This report was printed on

Trademark Notice: "NatureServe", NatureServe Explorer, The NatureServe logo, and all other names of NatureServe programs referenced herein are trademarks of NatureServe. Any other product or company names mentioned herein are the trademarks of their respective owners.

Copyright Notice: Copyright © 2018 NatureServe, 4600 N. Fairfax Dr., 7th Floor, Arlington Virginia 22203, U.S.A. All Rights Reserved. Each document delivered from this server or web site may contain other proprietary notices and copyright information relating to that document. The following citation should be used in any published materials which reference the web site.

Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2018. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

Restrictions on Use: Permission to use, copy and distribute documents delivered from this server is hereby granted under the following conditions:
  1. The above copyright notice must appear in all copies;
  2. Any use of the documents available from this server must be for informational purposes only and in no instance for commercial purposes;
  3. Some data may be downloaded to files and altered in format for analytical purposes, however the data should still be referenced using the citation above;
  4. No graphics available from this server can be used, copied or distributed separate from the accompanying text. Any rights not expressly granted herein are reserved by NatureServe. Nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring by implication, estoppel, or otherwise any license or right under any trademark of NatureServe. No trademark owned by NatureServe may be used in advertising or promotion pertaining to the distribution of documents delivered from this server without specific advance permission from NatureServe. Except as expressly provided above, nothing contained herein shall be construed as conferring any license or right under any NatureServe copyright.
Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided "as is" without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data. NatureServe hereby disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to any documents provided by this server or any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, including but not limited to all implied warranties and conditions of merchantibility, fitness for a particular purpose, and non-infringement. NatureServe makes no representations about the suitability of the information delivered from this server or any other documents that are referenced to or linked to this server. In no event shall NatureServe be liable for any special, indirect, incidental, consequential damages, or for damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information contained in any documents provided by this server or in any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server, under any theory of liability used. NatureServe may update or make changes to the documents provided by this server at any time without notice; however, NatureServe makes no commitment to update the information contained herein. Since the data in the central databases are continually being updated, it is advisable to refresh data retrieved at least once a year after its receipt. The data provided is for planning, assessment, and informational purposes. Site specific projects or activities should be reviewed for potential environmental impacts with appropriate regulatory agencies. If ground-disturbing activities are proposed on a site, the appropriate state natural heritage program(s) or conservation data center can be contacted for a site-specific review of the project area (see Visit Local Programs).

Feedback Request: NatureServe encourages users to let us know of any errors or significant omissions that you find in the data through (see Contact Us). Your comments will be very valuable in improving the overall quality of our databases for the benefit of all users.