Notropis mekistocholas 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Cypriniformes Cyprinidae

Scientific Name: Notropis mekistocholas Snelson, 1971
Common Name(s):
English Cape Fear Shiner

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2012-03-02
Assessor(s): NatureServe
Reviewer(s): Smith, K. & Darwall, W.R.T.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Hammerson, G.A. & Ormes, M.
This species is listed as Endangered because it has an extent of occurrence less than 5,000 sq km, area of occupancy is less than 100 sq km, number of locations is not more than five, and habitat quality and possibly abundance are probably slowly declining.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is endemic to the Cape Fear River basin in the east-central Piedmont region of North Carolina, occurring within a 30-mile wide area along the Cape Fear River and tributaries near the Fall Line (Page and Burr 2011).
Countries occurrence:
United States
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Recorded from nine streams. At present, only five populations are thought to exist; two of the five remaining populations are very small and unstable and therefore at risk of extirpation (USFWS, North Carolina Ecological Services;, website last updated Sept 2006). See also Saillant et al. (2005).

Effective population sizes in the three largest populations are estimated to be between 1,500 and 3,000 individuals (USFWS, North Carolina Ecological Services;, website last updated Sept 2006).

Formerly the species was more widespread in the Cape Fear system. Snelson (1971) suggested that Cape Fear Shiners may have always existed in low numbers, but unpublished studies from the 1980s (G. B. Pottern and M. T. Huish, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Endangered Species Office, Asheville, NC) reported declines in abundance and range for the species that were not evident for other sympatric taxa. A recent, significant decline in effective population size in two populations (one in the Deep River downstream of the High Falls dam and one at the confluence of the Deep and Rocky Rivers) was inferred from genetic data (Saillant et al. 2004).

Trend over the past 10 years or three generations is uncertain, but habitat quality and possibly abundance probably are slowly declining.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Small rivers to medium-sized creeks near the Fall Line; areas of moderate gradient and riffles alternating with long deep pools, and substrate a mixture of sand-gravel, rubble, and boulders. Occurs in slow pools, riffles, slow runs. Juveniles occupy slackwater, areas near rock outcrops, and flooded areas (Lee et al. 1980, Page and Burr 1991).
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is not utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Threats include deterioration of water quality due to toxic chemical pollution, changes in stream flow, channel modification, siltation, and impoundments (North Carolina Natural Heritage Program).

It is endangered due to limited distribution and vulnerability to habitat degradation. Habitat has been lost and fragmented due to inundation from dam construction. Remaining small populations are vulnerable to potential threats such as proposed dams and coal mining, road construction, channel modification, waste water discharges (Matthews and Moseley 1990), and increasing development. The species appears to be somewhat sensitive to sedimentation such as may result from agricultural activities.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Designation of one to several stream segments as State Outstanding Resource Waters would give added protection, as would strict laws that regulate discharges into suitable habitat and strict control over development along streambanks. State Nongame Program will initiate a captive breeding program for restocking into suitable habitat. Captive breeding programs should have a large number of breeding adults to ensure greater genetic diversity.

Citation: NatureServe. 2013. Notropis mekistocholas. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T14888A19032702. . Downloaded on 24 May 2018.
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