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Elassoma boehlkei

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII PERCIFORMES ELASSOMATIDAE

Scientific Name: Elassoma boehlkei
Species Authority: Rohde & Arndt, 1987
Common Name(s):
English Carolina Pygmy Sunfish

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-11-29
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 its extent of occurrence is less than 5000 sq km, area of occupancy is less than 500 sq km, the species is represented by not more than 10 locations, the distribution may be severely fragmented, and some populations and/or their habitats appear to be declining.
History:
1994 Rare (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Rare (IUCN 1990)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The range includes small areas in the drainages of Waccamaw River and Santee River in North Carolina and South Carolina (Quattro et al. 2001). Distribution is irregular and localized (Sandel and Harris 2007). See dot map in Menhinick (1991) for distribution in North Carolina.

Two population centers exist in the upper Waccamaw River drainage in North Carolina: Juniper Creek (the largest persistent population) in Brunswick and Columbus counties, and one site (a ditch) that drains into Big Creek, tributary to Lake Waccamaw, Columbus County. The range in North Carolina encompasses an area about 15 miles square. Range in the Waccamaw River system in North Carolina is likely to be expanded with further search. A recent survey of Nature Conservancy's Waccamaw River and Black River preserves did not encounter any Elassoma boehlkei (Smith 1996).

In the Waccamaw River drainage in South Carolina, the species occurs in Horry County and in several old ricefield ditches off Jerico Creek in the Samworth Game Management Area, near Georgetown, Georgetown County.

The Santee River population occupies a small pool adjacent to Big Pine Tree Creek, near Camden, Kershaw County, South Carolina (Rohde and Arndt 1987).
Countries:
Native:
United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is represented by several distinct occurrences (subpopulations).

Total adult population size is unknown. The species is extremely localized and uncommon (Page and Burr 2011) but not rare; sometimes locally common (Sandel and Harris 2007).

South Carolina populations seem stable; populations near Lake Waccamaw (Brunswick and Columbus counties, North Carolina) seem to be in decline (Sandel and Harris 2007).

At times, this species is relatively common in known habitat patches. Populations either use alternate habitats or fluctuate substantially with the seasons (Sandel and Harris 2007).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species' habitat includes shallow, quiet water (ponds, pools, streams, and roadside ditches, including tidal freshwater), with a soft detritus-rich substrate and abundant emergent and/or submerged aquatic vegetation; occurrences are in weakly alkaline to strongly acidic waters; often in human-disturbed habitats (Shute et al. 1981, Rohde and Arndt 1987, Rohde 1997, Sandel and Harris 2006, P. W. Shute pers. obs.).
Systems: Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is of minor value in commercial aquaria.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Rohde and Arndt (1987) and Sandel and Harris (2007) reported threats as follows. Local extirpations have been associated with urbanization. Anecdotal evidence suggests that competition with congeners may exclude this species from optimum habitat. Some populations are at considerable risk of over-harvesting by private aquarists. Recent droughts have severely affected the populations in North Carolina. Rohde and Arnst (1987) stated that no known populations are threatened (generally removed from urban areas, streams not likely to be dammed), but their occurrence mostly along roadsides makes them vulnerable to habitat alteration and/or pollution.

Warren et al. (2000) categorized this species as "Vulnerable" (may become endangered or threatened by relatively minor disturbances to its habitat or that deserves careful monitoring of its distribution and abundance).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Emergency caretaking procedures are being developed to prevent extirpation of evolutionarily significant units (M. Salmon and J.R. Shute pers. comm. cited by Sandel and Harros 2007). Riverbanks Aquarium and Conservation Fisheries Inc. conduct independent conservation projects involving propagation of this species.

Better information is needed on metapopulation dynamics, geographic distribution, and life history (Sandel and Harris 2007). Expanded surveys of Waccamaw River tributaries, and surveys of Lumber River tributaries, are needed.

Citation: NatureServe 2013. Elassoma boehlkei. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 02 September 2014.
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