Percina williamsi - Page and Near, 2007
Sickle Darter
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.814575
Element Code: AFCQC04450
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)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Page, L. M., and T. J. Near. 2007. A new darter from the upper Tennessee River drainage related to Percina macrocephala (Percidae: Etheostomatinae). Copeia 2007:605-613.
Concept Reference Code: A07PAG01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Percina williamsi
Taxonomic Comments: This species formerly was included in Percina macrocepahala. Page (1978) found that there are at least three morphologically distinct populations of Percina macrocepahala: one in the upper Tennessee River system, one in the Green River system, and a third in the upper Ohio River system. Further study by Page and Near (2007) determined that the upper Tennessee River population is a distinct species (P. williamsi). The Green River population, although somewhat distinctive from populations in the upper Ohio River drainage, does not appear to be diagnosable morphologically and shares identical mtDNA haplotypes with the upper Ohio River populations, so Page and Near (2007) maintained these populations as P. macrocephala.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G2
Global Status Last Reviewed: 20Apr2012
Global Status Last Changed: 07Feb2008
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G2 - Imperiled
Reasons: Range is restricted to the upper Tennessee River drainage in Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina; extirpated from several streams, likely as a result of increased turbidity and siltation.
Nation: United States
National Status: N2 (07Feb2008)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States North Carolina (SX), Tennessee (S2), Virginia (S1S2)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: VU - Vulnerable
American Fisheries Society Status: Threatened (01Aug2008)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 5000-200,000 square km (about 2000-80,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Range is restricted to the upper Tennessee River drainage in Tennessee, Virginia, and (formerly) North Carolina; records are available for the French Broad system in Tennessee and North Carolina, the Emory River system in Tennessee, and the Holston and Clinch river systems in Tennessee and Virginia (Page and Near 2007). This darter can be observed with regularity in a few streams, but populations are widely scattered (Page and Near 2007).

Area of Occupancy: 101-2,000 1-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: Area of occupancy is uncertain but appears to be less than 2,000 square kilometers.

Number of Occurrences: 6 - 80
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by probably more than 10 distinct occurrences (subpopulations) and locations (as defined by IUCN). On a coarse range-wide scale, Page and Near (2007) mapped 14 collection sites. On a state-wide scale, Jenkins and Burkhead (1994) mapped 12 collection sites in Virginia, and Etnier and Starnes (1993) mapped 10 collection sites in Tennessee Menhinick (1991) mapped one collection site in North Carolina but noted that the species was extirpated from that state.

Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown. This darter is common in some years in localized portions of the Little River, Blount County, Tennessee (Etnier and Starnes 1993), quite rare in Virginia (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Proximate principal threats to both P. macrocephala and P. williamsi are most likely increased turbidity and siltation resulting from agricultural, industrial, and municipal development (Page and Near 2007). These darters apparently are intolerant of siltation (Etnier and Starnes 1993), though in some rivers they has been collected in silted areas (Greenberg 1991, Jenkins and Burkhead 1994). Other threats include chemical pollution and impoundment (Burkhead and Jenkins 1991). Many populations are isolated by impoundments or other habitat barriers; thus distribution may be severely fragmented.

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Short-term Trend Comments: Etnier and Starnes (1993) reported that Little River populations in Tennessee appear to have experienced at least a temporary decline in recent years. Some populations in Virginia appear to be extirpated, and the species exhibits an apparently shrinking distribution in that state (Burkhead and Jenkins 1991; S. Roble, pers. comm., 1997).

Long-term Trend: Decline of 30-50%
Long-term Trend Comments: This species has been extirpated from several streams where it was collected in the late 1800s and early to mid-1900s (Page and Near 2007). It is considered extirpated in North Carolina (Menhinick 1991), which comprised a very small portion of the historical range; rare in Virginia (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994); and threatened in Tennessee (Etnier and Starnes 1993).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Protection Needs: Actions are needed to control sediment runoff and degradation of riparian zones and aquatic habitat by livestock. If habitat conditions are improved in areas within the historical range, reintroductions should be considered.

Distribution
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Global Range: (5000-200,000 square km (about 2000-80,000 square miles)) Range is restricted to the upper Tennessee River drainage in Tennessee, Virginia, and (formerly) North Carolina; records are available for the French Broad system in Tennessee and North Carolina, the Emory River system in Tennessee, and the Holston and Clinch river systems in Tennessee and Virginia (Page and Near 2007). This darter can be observed with regularity in a few streams, but populations are widely scattered (Page and Near 2007).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

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

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NC Buncombe (37021)*
TN Blount (47009), Carter (47019), Claiborne (47025)*, Morgan (47129)*, Sevier (47155)*, Sullivan (47163)*
VA Russell (51167), Scott (51169)*, Smyth (51173), Washington (51191)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
06 North Fork Holston (06010101)+, South Fork Holston (06010102)+, Watauga (06010103)+, Holston (06010104), Upper French Broad (06010105)+, Lower French Broad (06010107)+, Watts Bar Lake (06010201)+, Upper Clinch (06010205)+, Powell (06010206)+*, Emory (06010208)+
+ 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 (darter).
Reproduction Comments: Available information indicates that spawning occurs in late winter (Page and Near 2007). Life span is probably 3-4 years (based on closely related P. macrocephala).
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, MEDIUM RIVER, Moderate gradient, Pool
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: Habitat includes flowing pools over rocky, sandy, or silty substrates in clear creeks or small rivers (Page 1978, Etnier and Starnes 1993, Jenkins and Burkhead 1994, Page and Near 2007, Page and Burr 2011). This darter often occurs near woody debris, vegetation such as water willow, or large boulders (Etnier and Starnes 1993), and it spends most of its time swimming in current in the water column (Greenberg 1991, Etnier and Starnes 1993). It has been observed remaining motionless along the edge of brush or the plants in a water-willow bed, where their color pattern makes them difficult to detect (Heacock 1995). These fishes are not normally found beneath rocks during the daytime, as many other darters are, but at night they may seek this type of cover (Greenberg 1991). Spawning occurs in gravel shoals (Etnier and Starnes 1993, Page and Near 2007).
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Diet includes mayflies and probably other aquatic insects and crayfishes (Page and Near 2007).
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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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: 20Apr2012
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 20Apr2012
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
Help
  • Burkhead, N. M., and R. E. Jenkins. 1991. Fishes. Pages 321-409 in K. Terwilliger (coordinator). Virginia's Endangered Species: Proceedings of a Symposium. McDonald and Woodward Publishing Company, Blacksburg, Virginia.

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

  • Greenberg, L. A. 1991. Habitat use and feeding behavior of thirteen species of benthic stream fishes. Environmental Biology of Fishes 31:389-401.

  • Heacock, C. H. 1995. A repeatable, visual survey of three rare Percina (Osteichthyes: Percidae) fish in Little River, Blount, County, Tennessee. M.S. Thesis, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

  • 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.

  • Jenkins, R. E., and N. M. Burkhead. 1994. Freshwater fishes of Virginia. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland. xxiii + 1079 pp.

  • Menhinick, E. F. 1991. The freshwater fishes of North Carolina. North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. 227 pp.

  • Page, L. M. 1978. Redescription, distribution, variation and life history notes on Percina macrocephala (Percidae). Copeia 1978:655-664.

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

References for Watershed Distribution Map
  • Page, L. M., and T. J. Near. 2007. A new darter from the upper Tennessee River drainage related to Percina macrocephala (Percidae: Etheostomatinae). Copeia 2007:605-613.

  • 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.

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