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Etheostoma sitikuense

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII PERCIFORMES PERCIDAE

Scientific Name: Etheostoma sitikuense
Species Authority: Blanton, 2008
Common Name(s):
English Citico Darter

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2012-01-20
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 Vulnerable because the species occurs in only three locations and its area of occupancy may be less than 20 sq km. Trend is apparently stable. Population size is unknown but small.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Range includes a small segment of Citico Creek (a tributary of Tellico Lake, an impoundment of the mainstem Little Tennessee River) in Monroe County, Tennessee (Blanton and Jenkins 2008); this population historically extended farther downstream in lower Citico Creek before the stream was inundated by Tellico Lake (D. Etnier, pers. comm., cited by Blanton and Jenkins 2008). This species occurred historically in Abrams Creek, a tributary of Chilhowie Lake also impounding the Little Tennessee River, in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Blount County, Tennessee, where it was known from three specimens collected in 1937 and 1940 below Abrams Falls in the lower reaches of the mainstem of Abrams Creek, along several kilometers upstream of the confluence with the Little Tennessee River (Blanton and Jenkins 2008). Subsequently the species was extirpated and later reintroduced in lower Abrams Creek, below Abrams Falls and also was stocked in the Tellico River using Citico Creek stocks (Rakes and Shute 2005, Shute et al. 2005, Rakes and Shute 2008). There are no known historical records of Etheostoma sitikuense from the Tellico River; the species was stocked downstream of the national park boundary to the Tennessee Hwy 360 bridge (Blanton and Jenkins 2008).
Countries:
Native:
United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is represented by one remnant population, a reintroduced population, and an introduced population (Blanton and Jenkins 2008).

Total adult population size is unknown. Page and Burr (2011) categorized this species as rare.

The species appears to be moderately abundant in the small reach occupied in Citico Creek (Shute et al. 2005). The stocked, reintroduced population in Abrams Creek appears to be stable; recruitment has been observed since 1995 (Shute et al. 2005, Rakes and Shute 2008). The status of the stocked Tellico River population is not known (Blanton and Jenkins 2008).
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Habitat includes gravel, rubble, and slabrock pools and runs of creeks (Page and Burr 2011). Abrams Creek (Blue Ridge Province) and Citico Creek (Blue Ridge and Ridge and Valley) are moderate-sized streams that are characterized by alternating riffles, runs, and pools with cobble and small boulders (Blanton and Jenkins 2008). In Citico Creek, nests and nest-guarding by nuptial males have been observed beneath slab-rocks in the margins of pools and in swifter runs (Rakes et al. 1992).
Systems: Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Known threats to Abrams Creek and Citico Creek include agricultural runoff, sedimentation due to bank erosion, and poor land use practices (Blanton and Jenkins 2008).

This species apparently was extirpated from Abrams Creek by application of rotenone throughout the tributary system below Abrams Falls during 1957, a plan designed to reduce food and habitat competition for a rainbow trout fishery (Lennon and Parker 1959).

The existing populations are separated by large mainstem impoundments and cold tailwaters (Blanton and Jenkins 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Blanton and Jenkins (2008) reported the following protection and management/monitoring needs: The extremely limited distribution of Etheostoma sitikuense and the known extirpation of past populations point to the need for federal protection. Continued monitoring of habitat quality, land use practices, and population status are recommended. A recovery plan that focuses on these factors and includes goals to alleviate impacts to these stream reaches is needed. While continued propagation may be beneficial to the long-term survival of the species, further translocation outside the species known native range is not recommended. The distribution of the introduced E. sitikuense population in Tellico River should be closely monitored to ensure it does not encroach on the distinct, isolated population of Fintail Darter occurring above the falls in the upper Tellico River.

Citation: NatureServe 2013. Etheostoma sitikuense. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 28 August 2014.
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