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New darter species description

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#1 TomNear

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Posted 30 October 2015 - 01:15 PM

A new species of darter that is in trouble. You can find a PDF of the paper at the link below the abstract.



Etheostoma nebra, the Buck Darter, is described as a new species endemic to the Buck Creek system of the Cumberland River drainage in Kentucky, USA. The earliest collection records of Etheostoma nebra date to 1955 and were considered a population of Etheostoma virgatumEtheostoma nebra is delimited through morphological comparisons with Etheostoma virgatum and phylogenetic analyses using DNA sequences from a mitochondrial gene and five nuclear genes. Etheostoma nebra is distinguished from Etheostoma virgatum by a lower number of total lateral scales, fewer pored lateral scales and modally 13 compared with 12 pectoral fin rays. The two species also differ in patterns of pigmentation and nuptial male coloration. In the molecular phylogenies, Etheostoma nebra is not resolved as the sister species of Etheostoma virgatum. A review of all museum collection records of Etheostoma nebra and extensive field surveys in the Buck Creek system demonstrate a dramatic decline of the species over the past 30 years. Collections made from 1955 to 1981 show that Etheostoma nebra was widespread throughout the Buck Creek system, but the species is currently restricted to a small portion of Flat Lick Creek. Etheostoma nebra is critically imperiled based on its restricted geographic distribution and documented disappearance of populations within the Buck Creek system during the past three decades.




#2 Josh Blaylock

Josh Blaylock
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  • Central Kentucky

Posted 30 October 2015 - 02:46 PM



Like I said on FB, I'm glad you finally found them in Buck.  I've drove past that creek numerous times going to Buck Creek.


I skimmed your paper on my lunch break (I'll dive in later). Is it more closely related to the Teardrop Darter?  The pigmentation resembles E. barbouri more than E. virgatum.


What do you attribute to this sharp decline in this species?

Josh Blaylock - Central KY
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I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.

- Abraham Lincoln, 1861

#3 MtFallsTodd

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  • Mountain Falls, Virginia

Posted 30 October 2015 - 06:19 PM

Very attractive darter,it's a real shame if this fish is lost.
Deep in the hills of Great North Mountain

#4 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Forum Staff
  • Ohio

Posted 30 October 2015 - 07:16 PM

One trib to Buck creek? Almost seems that this was a dead fish swimming before it was even described. Maybe CFI can get involved, but unless the reason for the decline is found it may be moot. Some species just fail. How long can you ark a species? Seems like it should be attempted at least. What about Fed listing as well?

The member formerly known as Skipjack

#5 mattknepley

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  • Smack-dab between the Savannah and the Saluda.

Posted 31 October 2015 - 05:26 AM

"How long can you ark a species?" I say ark 'em til there ain't no more Noahs.
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#6 dac343

  • NANFA Guest

Posted 13 November 2015 - 10:31 PM

I honestly am not 100% sure where some of the habitat restoration in Buck Creek is going on but there is some work being done to restore the stream.  We have seen some mussel fauna improve in the area so perhaps the population has held on long enough to benefit.  Federal listing can help but we all know how much of a long drawn out process that can be.  Hopefully the population is large enough to not suffer ill effects.  I'm of the opinion that doing an ark population may be pointless if the wild population is truly on its way out.  How much genetic variability is left?

David Cravens

#7 Josh Blaylock

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Posted 20 April 2016 - 08:28 AM

Wanted to update this topic.


From CFI:



A newly described species of Barcheek Darter ~ the Buck Darter (Etheostoma nebra) from Stewart Branch in the Buck Creek system in KY.

We are excited to be working with several new species in 2016. Added as "firsts" to Conservation Fisheries species list will be the Buck Darter, Barcheek Darter, Olive Darter, and Sickle Darter.



Attachment from the KDFWR Commissioner's Newsletter concerning the Buck Darter

Attached Files

Josh Blaylock - Central KY
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I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky.

- Abraham Lincoln, 1861

#8 thedood

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  • Illinois

Posted 20 April 2016 - 07:29 PM

Thats a beautiful fish.

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