Etheostoma fonticola 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Percidae

Scientific Name: Etheostoma fonticola (Jordan & Gilbert, 1886)
Common Name(s):
English Fountain Darter

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-12-12
Assessor(s): NatureServe
Reviewer(s): Smith, K. & Darwall, W.R.T.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Hammerson, G.A. & Ormes, M.
This species is listed as Endangered because it occurs in only two locations, has an extent of occurrence of less than 100 sq km and area of occupancy of approximately 10 sq km, and faces declines in habitat quality/quantity caused by habitat dewatering and non-native species.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This darter is endemic to the upper San Marcos and Comal rivers in central Texas (Hubbs et al. 2008). San Marcos and Comal rivers are spring-fed streams deriving from the Edwards Aquifer. The original population in the Comal River was extirpated in the mid-1950s when Comal Springs ceased to flow (Hubbs et al. 2008). A population from San Marcos was reintroduced into Comal Springs during the early 1970s (Hubbs et al. 2008).

During periods of low flows, the National Fish Hatchery and Technology Center in San Marcos, Texas, serves as a refugium (Bonner and McDonald 2005).
Countries occurrence:
United States
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species is represented by two occurrences.

Population in the San Marcos River watershed was estimated in the 1970s at 103,000 (Schenck and Whiteside 1976). Linam et al. (1993) estimated the upper Comal River population at 168,078 individuals (Linam et al. 1993).

USFWS (1990) categorized the status as "unknown." Based on USFWS (1996), trend must be regarded as unknown but possibly declining.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Habitat includes vegetated springs, pools, and runs of effluent rivers (Page and Burr 2011). This fish inhabits springs and spring-fed streams in dense beds of aquatic plants (particularly filamentous algae) growing close to bottom, which is normally mucky. It prefers clear, quiet, warm backwaters. Eggs are apparently laid on dead leaves, twigs, rocks, algae, or similar objects.
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is not utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Primary threats include:
  1. Reduction of spring flows that may result from drought and water withdrawals from the Edwards Aquifer (Bonner and McDonald 2005)
  2. Negative impacts of introduced non-native species (a parasitic, non-native trematode afflicts the Comal population, but the population impact is uncertain).
USFWS (1990) stated that the species is also threatened by a severe loss of vegetation in Comal Springs, possibly caused by an exotic snail (USFWS 1990).

Jelks et al. (2008) categorized this species as Endangered, due to:
  1. Present or threatened destruction, modification, or reduction of  habitat or range
  2. Disease or parasitism
  3. Other natural or anthropogenic factors that affect a taxon's existence, including impacts of  nonindigenous organisms, hybridization, competition, and/or predation
  4. Restricted range

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Better information on current distribution, abundance, and trend is needed. Important aquifers need to be identified and protected.

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.9. Wetlands (inland) - Freshwater Springs and Oases
suitability:Suitable  major importance:Yes
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area management
2. Land/water management -> 2.2. Invasive/problematic species control
2. Land/water management -> 2.3. Habitat & natural process restoration
3. Species management -> 3.2. Species recovery

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:Yes
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.5. Abstraction of ground water (domestic use)
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Whole (>90%)   

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.7. Abstraction of ground water (agricultural use)
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Whole (>90%)   

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.1. Unspecified species
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Whole (>90%)   

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.4. Habitat trends

Bibliography [top]

Baillie, J. and Groombridge, B. (eds). 1996. 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. pp. 378. International Union for Conservation of Nature, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Bart, H.L., Jr. and Page, L.M. 1992. The influence of size and phylogeny on life history variation in North American percids. In: R.L. Mayden (ed.), Systematics, historical ecology, and North American freshwater fishes, pp. 553-572. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.

Campbell, L. 1995. Endangered and Threatened Animals of Texas: Their Life History and Management. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Endangered Resources Branch, Austin, Texas.

Groombridge, B. (ed.). 1994. 1994 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Hubbs, C. 1985. Darter reproductive seasons. Copeia 1985: 56-68.

Hubbs, C., Edwards, R.J. and Garrett, G.P. 2008. An annotated checklist of freshwater fishes of Texas, with keys to identification of species. Texas Journal of Science, Supplement, 2nd edition 43(4): 1-87.

IUCN. 1990. IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN. 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2013.1). Available at: (Accessed: 12 June 2013).

IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre. 1986. 1986 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre. 1988. IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Jelks, H.L., Walsh, S.J., Burkhead, N.M., Contreras-Balderas, S., Díaz-Pardo, E., Hendrickson, D.A., Lyons, J., Mandrak, N.E., McCormick, F., Nelson, J.S., Platania, S.P., Porter, B.A., Renaud, C.B., Jacobo Schmitter-Soto, J., Taylor, E.B. and Warren, M.L. Jr. 2008. Conservation status of imperiled North American freshwater and diadromous Fishes. Fisheries 33(8).

Kuehne, R.A. and Barbour, R.W. 1983. The American Darters. University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.

Lee, D.S., Gilbert, C.R., Hocutt, C.H., Jenkins, R.E., McAllister, D.E. and Stauffer, J.R., Jr. 1980. Atlas of North American Freshwater Fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.

Linam, G.W, Mayes, K.B. and Saunders, K.S. 1993. Habitat utilization and population size estimate of fountain darters, Etheostoma fonticola, in the Comal River, Texas. Texas Journal of Science 45: 341-348.

Matthews, J.R. and Moseley, C.J. (eds). 1990. The Official World Wildlife Fund Guide to Endangered Species of North America. Volume 2. Birds, Reptiles, Amphibians, Fishes, Mussels, Crustaceans, Snails, Insects, and Srachnids. Beacham Publications, Inc., Washington, D.C.

Nelson, J.S., Crossman, E.J., Espinosa-Pérez, H., Findley, L.T., Gilbert, C.R., Lea, R.N. and Williams, J.D. 2004. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

Page, L.M. 1983. Handbook of Darters. T. F. H. Pub., Inc., Neptune City, New Jersey.

Page, L.M. and Burr, B.M. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes: North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Page, L.M. and Burr, B.M. 2011. Peterson field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Robins, C.R., Bailey, R.M., Bond, C.E., Brooker, J.R., Lachner, E.A., Lea, R.N. and Scott, W.B. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada.

San Marcos Recovery Team. 1985. San Marcos recovery plan for San Marcos River endangered and threatened species (San Marcos gambusia, fountain darter, San Marcos salamander and Texas wildrice). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Schenck, J.R. and Whiteside, B.G. 1976. Distribution, habitat preference and population size estimate of Etheostoma fonticola. Copeia 1976: 697-703.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1996. San Marcos and Comal springs and associated aquatic ecosystems (revised) recovery plan. Albuquerque, New Mexico.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1990. Endangered and threatened species recovery program: report to Congress. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C.

Citation: NatureServe. 2013. Etheostoma fonticola. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T8114A13363121. . Downloaded on 21 April 2018.
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