Noturus flavipinnis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Siluriformes Ictaluridae

Scientific Name: Noturus flavipinnis Taylor, 1969
Common Name(s):
English Yellowfin Madtom
Taxonomic Source(s): Taylor, W.R. 1969. A revision of the catfish genus Noturus (Rafinesque) with an analysis of higher groups in the Ictaluridae. Smithsonian Institution, U.S. National Museum Bulletin 282: 1-315.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2012-03-05
Assessor(s): NatureServe
Reviewer(s): Smith, K. & Darwall, W.R.T.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Hammerson, G.A. & Ormes, M.
This species is listed as Vulnerable because the estimated number of locations (based on well-established populations) is not more than five. Extent of occurrence and area of occupancy are small, but distribution, abundance, and habitat quality do not appear to be declining.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is confined to the upper Tennessee River drainage, in Georgia (historically), Tennessee, and Virginia. It was probably once widely distributed in the Tennessee River drainage, from the Chickamauga system upstream (USFWS 1983). However, the Yellowfin Madtom was historically known from only seven streams: South Chickamauga Creek, Catoosa County, Georgia; Clinch River, Tennessee; Hines Creek, a Clinch River tributary, Anderson County, Tennessee; North Fork Holston River, Smyth County, Virginia; Copper Creek, Scott and Russell Counties, Virginia; Powell River, Hancock County, Tennessee (and recently found in the Virginia portion of the river); and Citico Creek, Monroe County, Tennessee (USFWS 1983). Although there are no historical records from Abrams Creek, Blount County, Tennessee, Lennon and Parker (1959) reported that the Brindled Madtom (the name given by early collectors for the Yellowfin) was collected during a reclamation project of lower Abrams Creek in 1957. Based on this observation, Dinkins and Shute (1996) and others concluded that the species once occurred in the middle and lower reaches of Abrams Creek. Four small extant populations still exist, one each in Citico Creek (about 5 stream kilometres), Copper Creek (lower 47 river kilometres plus a disjunct site about 31 kilometres upstream; Jenkins and Burkhead 1994), Clinch River (roughly at least 24 stream kilometres; Conservation Fisheries, Inc., newsletter, December 2004), and the Powell River (where recent surveys have expanded known range); most of these populations are widely separated by impoundments (see USFWS 2007).

Conservation Fisheries, Inc. (CFI), has reintroduced the species into Abrams Creek, and a population is apparently becoming re-established (Rakes et al. 1998). Yellowfin Madtoms also have been released in the Tellico River upstream from Tellico Reservoir, Monroe County, Tennessee (USFWS 2001, 2002). Early indications show that the released fishes are surviving in the Tellico River (see USFWS 2007). It will take several more years of reintroductions to ensure future success similar to the Abrams Creek reintroductions (USFWS 2007). CFI has also successfully placed Yellowfin Madtoms in an existing nonessential experimental population (NEP) on the North Fork Holston River, Washington County, Virginia. This site is separated from the NEP on the lower Holston River (see following information) by reservoirs, and the fish is not known from any of these reservoirs or intervening river sections. These reservoirs and river sections act as barriers to movement by the fish and assure that the North Fork Holston River population will remain geographically isolated and easily identifiable as a distinct population from the Lower Holston River population (USFWS 2007). Conservation actions also include release of this species into probable historical habitat in the free-flowing reach of the French Broad River from below Douglas Dam to its confluence with the Holston River, Knox County, Tennessee, and in the free-flowing reach of the Holston River from below Cherokee Dam to its confluence with the French Broad River (USFWS 2007). This is a nonessential experimental population (USFWS 2007). Although there are no historical records from the lower Holston River or French Broad River system, USFWS and others believe that the species once probably inhabited these river reaches.

Old records of Yellowfin Madtom from Lyons Creek at the Tennessee River in Tennessee may actually pertain to Noturus eleutherus (see Jenkins and Burkhead 1994).
Countries occurrence:
United States
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Three of the seven clearly documented populations are extirpated, though reintroductions are in progress and have added at least one established occurrence (subpopulation) to the remaining four.

Total adult population size is unknown but presumably is at least a few thousand. This species is generally regarded as rare, but it is difficult to inventory due to secretive and nocturnal habits. A very small population exists in Copper Creek (Burkhead and Jenkins 1991, Jenkins and Burkhead 1994; Conservation Fisheries, Inc.). Data from the 1980s indicated a population of about 500 adults in Citico Creek (Shute 1984); surveys there in the early 2000s found record numbers of Yellowfin Madtoms (Conservation Fisheries, Inc.). Surveys in 2004 found numerous Yellowfin Madtoms in the upper Clinch River (Conservation Fisheries, Inc., newsletter, December 2004). Recent surveys indicate that the Powell River population is more widespread and larger than formerly known.

Three of the seven historical populations have been extirpated.

Reintroductions that began in the mid-1980s have modestly increased the area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Habitat includes medium-sized and large creeks and small rivers that are unpolluted, warm or warm to cool, usually relatively unsilted (Powell River may be very silty), and of moderate to gentle gradient. This species generally occurs in slow pools and occasionally small backwaters off runs and riffles, rarely in runs. It is generally under cover (sticks, logs, leaf litter, undercut banks, tree roots, rocks, trash) during daylight hours. At night, it is often on the streambed in open clean gravel and rubble areas away from banks and riffles. It may occur in slightly to moderately silted bank areas during day or night. Eggs are laid in cavities beneath flat rocks in pools at depths of usually less than 1 m. For further information, see Burkhead and Jenkins (1991), Jenkins and Burkhead (1994), and Dinkins and Shute (1996).
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is not utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Major threats to this species are impoundments, chemical spills, mining, dredging, and pollution (USFWS, Virginia Field Office). Some historical populations were lost due to water impoundment and pollution. Powell River population is threatened by coal- and gravel-mining operations in and near the upper Powell River (Etnier and Starnes 1993). Citico Creek population potentially is threatened by acid contamination related to the shale chemistry in the region. Some reaches of Copper Creek, Virginia, have been impacted by heavy cutting of riparian brush and trees (Burkhead and Jenkins 1991) and by agricultural run-off (Conservation Fisheries, Inc.).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: The delisting criteria in the recovery plan (USFWS 1983) include:
  1. Protect and enhance existing populations and/or reestablish populations so that viable populations exist in Copper Creek, Citico Creek, and the Powell River
  2. Rrecreate and/or discover two additional viable populations
  3. Ensure that noticeable improvements in coal-related problems and substrate quality exist in the Powell River
  4. Protect the species and its habitat in all five rivers from present and foreseeable threats that may adversely affect essential habitat or the survival of any of the populations.

Citation: NatureServe. 2013. Noturus flavipinnis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T14900A19033751. . Downloaded on 19 September 2018.
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