Etheostoma acuticeps 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Percidae

Scientific Name: Etheostoma acuticeps Bailey, 1959
Common Name(s):
English Sharphead Darter

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2011-12-02
Assessor(s): NatureServe
Reviewer(s): Smith, K. & Darwall, W.R.T.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Hammerson, G.A. & Ormes, M.
Listed as Vulnerable because extent of occurrence is less than 20,000 sq km, area of occupancy is less than 200 sq km, and the species occurs in not more than 5 locations; the small number of locations makes the species highly vulnerable to catastrophic events (such as a large pollutant spill) that could rapidly cause the species to become Critically Endangered.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Range includes the Holston and Nolichucky river systems, upper Tennessee River drainage, eastern Tennessee, western Virginia (extremely rare, South Fork Holston River above the head of South Holston Reservoir), and western North Carolina (rediscovered after reported extirpation); the species occurs in the Nolichucky River in Tennessee and North Carolina, two Nolichucky tributaries in North Carolina, and South Fork Holston River in Tennessee and Virginia (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994).

The largest and most viable populations are in the Nolichucky River, Tennessee (about 125 river km); range extends both above and below Davy Crockett Reservoir. In North Carolina (1991-1993), this darter was found at 11 of 57 sites sampled in the Nolichucky River and upstream in the lowest 8 km of the Cane River, the lowest 18.6 km of the North Toe River, and in one tributary of the last (Rohde and Arndt 1994). This species occupies not more than 5 km of the South Fork Holston River in Virginia. See Etnier and Starnes (1993) for a historical account of the known distribution.
Countries occurrence:
United States
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is known from a couple dozen collecting localities that represent not more than 5 locations with respect to pollution threats. In 1995, Tennessee Valley Authority reported 18 localities, of which 4 are extirpated. There are at least several distinct occurrences (subpopulations); the precise number depends on how collection sites are lumped).

Total adult population size is unknown. In North Carolina, this species is common to abundant at most occupied sites (Rohde and Arndt 1994). Most surveys find 1 to 20 individuals at a single site. This is often the most abundant darter in the Nolichucky River downstream from Irwin, Tennessee, and it is also abundant in the lower Cane River (D. Eisenhour, fide Mel Warren, pers. comm., 1999). It is "extremely rare" in Virginia (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994). Overall, Page and Burr (2011) regarded it as "rare."

Trend over the past 10 years or three generations is uncertain, but distribution and abundance likely are relatively stable.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:Custom (N)

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Habitat includes fast, deep, rocky riffles in small to medium rivers; strongly flowing water in riffles and chutes of large upland creeks and medium-sized rivers where substrate consists of coarse gravel, rubble, or boulders and the water is cool or warm, usually clear or slightly turbid, with a moderate gradient (Lee et al. 1980, Page and Burr 2011). Where common, as in the Nolichucky River, Tennessee, this darter often occurs among lush growth of riverweed (Podostemum). In North Carolina, it is most common in riffles near river islands. See Kuehne and Barbour (1983), Burkhead and Jenkins (1991), and Rohde and Arndt (1994). Eggs evidently are buried in sand in riffle areas near the base of a large rock (Bryant 1979), apparently in the same areas of swift current that are inhabited during the nonspawning period (Burkhead and Jenkins 1991).
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Populations have been greatly reduced or eliminated through siltation and inundation and cold tailwaters resulting from impoundment (Burkhead and Jenkins 1991). One large toxic spill in the upper Nolichucky River could severely damage the population there and affect the conservation status of the species (Burkhead and Jenkins 1991). This species is regarded as "secure" in North Carolina (Rohde and Arndt 1994).

This species apparently increased in abundance or recolonized the upper Nolichucky River in Tennessee after water quality improved there (Etnier and Starnes 1993).

Some previous pollution problems in the South Fork Holston River system "have been relieved, but other potential pollution problems exist" (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This specuies would benefit from improvements in water quality, including reduction in siltation. Populations apparently may respond quickly to improvements in water quality (Etnier and Starnes 1993).

The South Fork Holston River population may benefit by transplanting fishes from the Nolichucky River, though fish competitors (redline darter, sculpins) in the former stream may limit or prevent the success of such a transplant (Burkhead and Jenkins 1991).

Conservation status can change quickly, so regular monitoring of populations is needed.

Citation: NatureServe. 2014. Etheostoma acuticeps. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T8107A15363986. . Downloaded on 18 July 2018.
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