Conasauga logperch

Percina jenkinsi

 

SPECIES CODE: E05H V01

 

STATUS:

Listed Endangered in the entire range with Critical Habitat on August 5, 1985 (50 FR 31597 31604). Recovery Plan completed on June 20, 1986.

 

Note:    All descriptions can be found in the Recovery Plan (1986), the Federal Register (50 FR 31597 31604), and the USFWS Species Accounts [online].

 

SPECIES DESCRIPTION:

This species is a member of the Percidae family.  The Conasauga logperch is a larger darter, sometimes exceeds 6 inches in length.  This species feeds on aquatic invertebrates found under stones (Starnes and Etnier 1980).

 

REPRODUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT:

No studies regarding life history have been conducted.  Available information indicates that spawning occurs in the spring, in fast riffles over gravel substrate.  The fish probably reaches sexual maturity after 1 year and has a maximum life span of at least 4 years.

 

RANGE AND POPULATION LEVEL:

The species is currently known only from the upper Conasauga River basin in Georgia and Tennessee.  This species is apparently restricted to about 11 miles of the upper Conasauga River in Tennessee and Georgia.  Specifically, it has been observed in the Conasauga River from approximately ¼ mile above the junction of Minnewauga Creek, Polk County, Tennessee, downstream through Bradley County, Tennessee, to the Georgia State Highway 2 Bridge, Murray County.

 

HABITAT:

This species occurs in flowing pool areas and riffles over clean substrate of rubble, sand, and gravel (Starnes and Etnier, 1980).  The Conasauga logperch requires unpolluted, clean water streams. 

 

Critical habitat designated for this species within the Conasauga River (Polk and Bradley Counties, Tennessee, and Murray and Whitfield Counties, Georgia) contains high quality water, pool areas and deeper chutes with gravel and small rubble for spawning.

 

PAST THREATS:

Due to the species’ limited distribution, any factor that degrades habitat or water quality in these short river reaches could threaten the fish’s survival.  The major threat to the species has been siltation resulting from land clearing from agriculture or other land uses.  Another factor limiting the species’ distribution is thought to be the presence of “…the Mobile logperch, occupying the entire upper Coosa system…resulting in the surviving species residing in a very small section of the Conasauga River (Thompson 1985)” (USFWS 1986).  Just upstream of Murray County Road 173 Bridge, Murray County, Georgia, an island was removed in 1982 at a site that was inhabited by Conasauga logperch.  Six to nine moths after the area was modified, the Conasauga logperch was not seen at the site.

 

CURRENT THREATS:

The continued existence of the species is jeopardized if water development projects now being considered for the Canasuga River basin are implemented without adequately considering the requirements of these species.  Fish species common to reservoirs, including carp, generally respond to reservoir construction by dramatically increasing their population levels, Periodic upstream movement of these fishes could be expected to reduce the Consasauga logperch’s chances of survival through competition, predation, and changes in the habitat caused by some of the fishes’ feeding behavior (e.g., carp stirring up the substrate during feeding).  Other threats would include siltation and habitat modification from the construction of the projects, and major land use changes, chemical spills, and significant increases in agricultural and urban runoff.

 

CONSERVATION MEASURES:

The primary factor in conserving the Conasauga logperch will be to protect its present habitat in the Conasauga River and ensure that neither habitat nor water quality is degraded through construction or other activities. Studies on life history and habitat requirements should be conducted to provide complete information on management needs.

 

LITERATURE CITED:

Starnes, W.C., and D.A. Etnier. 1980.  Fishes. Pages B1-B134 In D.C. Eagar and R.M. Hatcher (eds.). Tennessee’s Rare Wildlife Volume 1: The Vertebrates. Tennessee Heritage Program.

Thompson, B.A. 1985. Percina jenkinsi, a new species of logperch (Pisces:Percidae) from the Conasauga River, Tennessee and Georgia. Pap. Mus. Zool. Louisiana State Univ. No. 61. 23pp.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1986. Conasauga Logperch and Amber Darter Recovery Plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Atlanta, Georgia. 34pp.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1985. Determination of Endangered Status and of Critical Habitat for the Amber Darter and the Conasauga Logperch. Federal Register (50):31597-31604.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Division of Endangered Species, Conasauga logperch (Percina jenkinsi) Species Accounts [online]. Available: http://endangered.fws.gov/i/e/sae22.html.  Aug. 13, 2002.