Raleigh Ecological Services Field Office
Conserving the Nature of America

Roanoke logperch (Percina rex)

Roanoke logperch

Roanoke logperch

Federal Status: Endangered, listed August 18, 1989

Description: The Roanoke logperch is a large darter (up to 165 mm total length) with 8-11 vertical lateral blotches, dark green "worm-like" markings interspersed between dorsal saddles, speckled fins with the first dorsal fin having an orange band (particularly vivid in males), and a bulbous snout.

Habitat: Roanoke logperch typically inhabit medium-to-large sized warm, clear streams and small rivers of moderate to low gradient. Adults usually occupy riffles, runs, and pools containing sand, gravel, or boulders that are free of silt. Young-of-year congregate in mixed-species schools in shallow habitat underlain by sand and gravel along stream margins.

Spawning occurs in April or May in deep runs over gravel and small cobble, and logperch typically bury their eggs with no subsequent parental care. Larval drift is likely an important dispersal and recolonization mechanism. Roanoke logperch mature at 2-3 years of age and commonly live five to six years.

Roanoke logperch actively feed during the warmer months by utilize their snout to overturn gravel to forage on benthic aquatic macroinvertebrates. Generally the logperch exist in low-density populations.

Map of Roanoke logperch distribution in North Carolina.

Map of Roanoke logperch distribution in North Carolina.

Distribution: This species is known from portions of the Chowan and Roanoke River basins within the ridge and valley, piedmont, and upper coastal plain physiographic regions, including recent collections in North Carolina in the Dan River, Mayo River, and Smith River watersheds. It appears that massive habitat loss associated with the impoundments of the Roanoke River basin in the 1950s and 1960s (Roanoke Rapids, Gaston, Kerr, Leesville, Smith Mountain, and Philpott Reservoirs) was the original cause of significant population declines of this species. In North Carolina, upstream range in the Dan and Mayo Rivers is presumably impeded by dams.

Threats: Current threats are large dams and reservoirs, small dams/barriers, watershed urbanization, agricultural and silvicultural activities contributing non-point source pollution, channelization, roads, toxic spills/accidents, riparian/woody debris loss, and water withdrawals.

References:

Black, T. 2011. Fact Sheet for Roanoke Logperch (Percina rex) within North Carolina. NC Wildlife Resources Commission. Raleigh, NC.

Jenkins, R. E., D. Ebaugh, and T. Zorach. 1980. Percina rex (Jordan and Evermann), Roanoke logperch. Page 738. Lee, D. S., Gilbert, C. R., Hocutt, C. H., Jenkins, R. E., McAllister, D. E., and J. R. Stauffer, Jr. eds. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History. Raleigh, NC. Page 738.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1992. Roanoke logperch (Percina rex) recovery plan. Newton Corner, Massachusetts.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2007. Ronoke logperch (Percina rex) 5-Year Review: Summary and Evaluation. Gloucester, Virginia.

Species Contact:

Sarah McRae, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, 919-856-4520 ext. 16

Last Updated: November 1, 2012