Arkansas River Shiner

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Learn more about critical habitat here.

Arkansas River Shiner (Percina pantherina)
Status: Threatened with Designated Critical Habitat
Listed: November 23, 1998; critical habitat designated April 4, 2001

For questions regarding the Arkansas River Shiner in Arkansas, please contact Tommy Inebnit at thomas_inebnit@fws.gov or 501-513-4483.

Species Facts:
The Arkansas River shiner is a small minnow (up to 3.15 inches) that is usually light tan, with silvery sides gradually fading to white on the belly. They have a small black chevron at the base of the caudal (tail) fin.

Adults travel up to 130 miles upstream during their 18-month lifespan before spawning. Spawning takes place in the main stream channel between June and August, and eggs may travel many miles downstream before hatching.  Eggs hatch within 24-48 hours, and larvae can swim up to 4 days before seeking backwater pools and side channels where food is more abundant. If spawning occurs less than 130 miles upstream of an impoundment, eggs and larva will likely drop to the bottom of the impoundment and die.

Habitat Summary:
Historically, this species inhabited the main channels of wide, shallow sand-bottomed rivers and larger streams of the Arkansas River basin. Juveniles are associated with backwater and island habitat types.

This species has lost over 80% of its historical habitat and is now currently found only along the Canadian River in Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico, with a small population in the Cimarron River in Oklahoma and Kansas.

Why is it Threatened?
Habitat loss and destruction, water quality degredation, and reduced stream flow have all negatively affected this species, primarily due to diversion of surface water, groundwater pumping, and construction of impoundments. Competition, accidental capture, drought, and other natural causes may also have contributed to the decline in populations.

Critical habitat has been designated for the Arkansas River shiner. Critical habitat is designated when there are geographic areas containing features we believe are essential to the conservation of a species. Designation of Critical Habitat does not affect land ownership or establish a refuge, reserve, preserve, or other conservation area. It does not affect activities on the land unless they are funded by federal dollars. Learn more about critical habitat here.

Conservation partnerships focused on conserving the quality and quantity of water have been put into place within the Arkansas River shiner's range. Fish surveys are also conducted to monitor the effectiveness of on-the-ground efforts and provide information to better recover the species.

Range in Arkansas:
The Arkansas River shiner hasn’t been seen in Arkansas since 1988; it is presumed extinct in the state.

Arkansas Field Office
110 S. Amity Road
Suite 300
Conway, AR 72032

501/513 4470 (v)
501/513 4480 (f)

Last Updated: December 30, 2015

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