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Etheostoma chermocki

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII PERCIFORMES PERCIDAE

Scientific Name: Etheostoma chermocki
Species Authority: Boschung, Mayden & Tomelleri, 1992
Common Name(s):
English Vermilion Darter

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-12-07
Assessor(s): NatureServe
Reviewer(s): Smith, K. & Darwall, W.R.T.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Hammerson, G.A. & Ormes, M.
Justification:
This species is listed as Critically Endangered because its extent of occurrence is less than 100 sq km, distribution consists of a single location, and habitat is subject to ongoing declines in quality/quantity. Area of occupancy is only a little more than 10 sq km.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is known only from the Turkey Creek drainage, a tributary to Locust Fork, Black Warrior River system, Jefferson County, Alabama; it is known from 11.6 km of the mainstem Turkey Creek and the lowermost reaches (0.8 km) of Dry Creek and Beaver Creek where they intersect Turkey Creek (Boschung et al. 1992; Mettee et al. 1996; USFWS 1999, 2000, 2001). USFWS (2011) indicated that this darter occurs in localized sites of upper Turkey Creek and four tributaries of Turkey Creek.
Countries:
Native:
United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In the late 1990s, overall population size was estimated at 3,300 or less; effective population size was estimated at 1,174 individuals; data are limited, but no major change is known to have occurred since then (USFWS 2011).

Cursory surveys conducted sporadically within the Turkey Creek mainstem and tributaries from 2004–2009 indicate that this species is sparsely and sporadically distributed (see USFWS 2011).

The current range is slightly reduced from the historical distribution due to fragmentation of sites and separation of  populations; natural (waterfall) and anthropogenic (impoundments) dispersal barriers contribute to the separation and isolation of vermilion darter populations (USFWS 2011).

A 71 percent decline of vermilion darters was noted between 1995 and 1998 within the species' known range in the Turkey Creek mainstem (USFWS 2011).
Since 2001, in most stream reaches of the species' habitat, population numbers have been low but stable (USFWS 2011).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Habitat includes small to medium-sized (3–20 m wide) gravel-bottomed streams with pools of moderate current alternating with riffles of moderately swift current; substrate varies from coarse gravel, cobble, and small rubble in riffles to rock, sand, and silt in pools; this darter apparently favours swifter chutes where there is some vegetation such as watercress or pondweed (Boschung et al. 1992).
Systems: Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is not utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The primary threats to the species are: degradation of water quality due to sedimentation and pollutants from urbanization and industrial activities; altered stream flow regimes and water quantity due to construction and maintenance activities; insufficient stormwater management; and impoundments (five within the Turkey Creek and Dry Creek system). Other threats include: in-stream rock extractions; off-road vehicle usage; road, culvert, bridge, gas and water easement construction and maintenance. These activities lead to water quality degradation, stream channel instability, fragmentation of habitat and hydrology, and overall changes in the geomorphology of the Turkey Creek watershed. In addition, natural waterfalls are dispersal barriers to the connectivity of the Vermilion Darter populations. The Vermilion Darter's habitat is fragmented, and the various subpopulations may be genetically isolated and are vulnerable to local extirpation. Source: USFWS (2011, see this for additional source citations).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

This species would benefit from habitat restoration, improved habitat protection and management, species management, and better information on population trend and threats.


Citation: NatureServe 2013. Etheostoma chermocki. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 October 2014.
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