Etheostoma tuscumbia


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Etheostoma tuscumbia
Species Authority: Gilbert & Swain, 1887
Common Name(s):
English Tuscumbia Darter
Taxonomic Notes: As presently circumscribed, Etheostoma tuscumbia may represent multiple species (Boschung and Mayden 2004). Further study is needed.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2012-01-24
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 its area of occupancy may not exceed 20 sq km. Trend is unknown.
2010 Vulnerable
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Vulnerable (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Vulnerable (IUCN 1990)
1988 Vulnerable (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
1986 Vulnerable (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The range encompasses springs along the southern bend of the Tennessee River in northern Alabama (Boschung and Mayden 2004) and (formerly) south-central Tennessee (Etnier and Starnes 1993).
United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Boschung and Mayden (2004) mapped 25 collection sites and indicated that the species has been extirpated in 12 of those sites.

Total adult population size is unknown. This species can be locally numerous in favourable habitat (common in a few springs).

This species evidently has been extirpated from roughly 50% of the known collection localities (Etnier and Starnes 1993, Boschung and Mayden 2004).

Current trend is unknown.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Habitat is essentially restricted to vegetated spring pools and runs with slow current; usually associated with watercress (Nasturtium officionale) or other aquatic plants or algae over clean substrates of fine gravel, sand, and silt; water is generally clear in high-quality habitats; water temperature in occupied springs usually is 15-17 °C (Etnier and Starnes 1993, Jones et al. 1993, Boschung and Mayden 2004, Page and Burr 2011). Although the species has been found around small (four to five feet high) dams and small impoundments (beaver ponds), larger structures pose a barrier to dispersal (Kuhajda pers. comm. 1998). Warm summer month temperatures in surrounding spring waters are also thought to preclude dispersal (Kuhajda pers. comm. 1998).
Systems: Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The primary threat to this species is human modification of spring heads. Extirpations have occurred in Alabama as a result of vegetated spring heads being converted to fishing ponds or treated with herbicides to remove vegetation (Boschung and Mayden 2004). Former habitat in Tennessee was inundated by Pickwick Reservoir (Etnier and Starnes 1993).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Detailed life history studies are needed. Springs in the Tennessee River system should be searched for additional populations. Occupied springs need protection from herbiciding and impoundment.

Citation: NatureServe 2013. Etheostoma tuscumbia. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 30 March 2015.
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