|Scientific Name:||Lepidomeda vittata|
|Species Authority:||Cope, 1874|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Vulnerable B1ab(iii)c(iv) ver 3.1|
|Assessor/s:||NatureServe (G. Hammerson)|
|Reviewer/s:||Robinson, A.T. (Freshwater Fish Red List Authority), Collen, B., Dewhurst, N. & Ram, M. (Sampled Red List Index Coordinating Team)|
Lepidomeda vittata has been assessed as Vulnerable due to its small extent of occurrence, less than 20,000km2. The population of this species is also highly fragmented and population numbers fluctuate dramatically from year to year but overall are thought to be declining, mainly due to the continuing decline of habitat quality and extent and the spread of competition and predators. Management efforts need to be directed towards development and implementation of refugia from non-natives, conservation of existing populations and their watersheds, and clearly define key management sites. Further monitoring of the population numbers and habitat status of this species is needed to ensure a higher threat category is not triggered in the future.
|Range Description:||Lepidomeda vittata formerly occurred throughout the upper sections of the Little Colorado River system in eastern Arizona (Minckley 1973; Lee et al. 1980, Page and Burr 1991). At present it occurs in the mainstem Little Colorado River and in its north-flowing tributaries, including portions of East Clear, Chevelon, Rudd, and Nutrioso creeks, in Coconino, Navajo, and Apache counties (USFWS 1987; Federal Register, 23 September 1994, p. 48899). Recent surveys could not locate this species in Silver Creek, and very few were found in Nutrioso and Rudd creeks. This species is considered rare in the East Clear Creek watershed, Chevelon Creek, and the mainstem Little Colorado River (USFWS, Arizona Ecological Services Field Office). The area in which this species is distributed is approximately 8,532km2.|
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
Lepidomeda vittata is represented by four extant occurrences (subpopulations).
At present, the total adult population is unkown. It has been described as uncommon and highly localized (Page and Burr 1991).
Historical distribution is similar to the current distribution except that the species possibly may have occurred in the Zuni River watershed south of Gallup, New Mexico (Hill et al. 1989). The species was last captured in Silver Creek during 1997, and so may be extirpated from Silver Creek and its tributaries.
Genetic data has not yet shed any light on the nature or timing of the decline that appears to have occurred (Tibbets et al. 2001).
Populations fluctuate dramatically from year to year, probably reflecting periodic drought and varying water availability. Overall, however, populations are thought to be on the decline.
|Habitat and Ecology:||Lepidomeda vittata habitat types include rocky and sandy, runs and pools of creeks and small rivers. Water clarity ranges from clear to turbid with substrate types including sand, gravel, silt, and bedrock (Minckley 1973; Rohde cited in Lee et al. 1980). Water temperature is equivocal to that of the trouts habitat. This species is most commonly found in slow to moderate water currents, with fine gravel substrates. It prefers unshaded pools with rocks and undercut banks, as oppose to deep, heavily shaded poools and shallow open areas (Hill et al. 1989; Minckley 1984). During dry periods, these fishes retreat to springs and pools in intermittent streambeds (Robinson et al. 2003).|
The decline in population numbers of Lepidomeda vittata is attributed to habitat loss and alteration due to dam and road construction, water extraction, stream channelisation, introduction and spread of exotic competitive and predatory species (Blinn et al. 1993), and chemical manipulation of fish populations in native streams (USFWS 1987). Within the Nelson Reservoir in eastern Arizona, introduction of brown trout is likely to pose more of a threat than the the rainbow trout (Sweetser et al. 2002).
Long-term drought in addition to current and planned water acquisitions, are limiting the amount of water available for the fish. Additionally, non-native fishes (rainbow trout, green sunfish) and crayfish compete with spinedace and predate upon them (USFWS, Arizona Ecological Services Field Office; Bryan et al. 2002).
East Clear, Chevelon, and Nutrioso creeks have all been designated as Critical Habitat. Much of this species habitat is under federal ownership. The remaining localities fall under the ownership of the Bureau of Indian Affaris - Hopi Reservation, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service - Apache Sitgreaves and Coconino National Forests, Arizona Game and Fish Department - Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area and Wenima Riparian Corridor along with areas of private ownership.
The lower reach of Chevelon Creek, the White Mountain Hereford Ranch (through which Rudd Creek flows), and the Wenima property (through which the Little Colorado River flows) are currently owned and managed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
Genetic data indicate the importance of maintaining all remaining populations (Tibbets et al. 2001).
Future management needs to be directed to conserving exisiting populations and their watersheds, establishment of refugium sites within historical habitats, ameliorate the effects of non-native fishes in spinedace habitats, and clearly delineate key management areas.
Lepidomeda vittata was previously assessed as Vulnerable (criteria D2) on the 1996 IUCN Red List version 2.3.
|Citation:||NatureServe (G. Hammerson) 2010. Lepidomeda vittata. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 20 May 2013.|
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