Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Inhabits springs and rocky riffles of headwaters and creeks.
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Distribution

endemic to a single nation

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (1000-5000 square km (about 400-2000 square miles)) Range includes the extreme upper Clinch and Holston river systems (Tennessee River drainage) in western Virginia and just into northeastern Tennessee (Page and Burr 2011). This species has been reported from Doe Creek of the upper Watauga branch of the South Fork Holston in Tennessee, but that population apparently is C. bairdii ("smoky sculpin") (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994).

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Range Description

Range includes the extreme upper Clinch and Holston river systems (Tennessee River drainage) in western Virginia and just into northeastern Tennessee (Page and Burr 2011). This species has been reported from Doe Creek of the upper Watauga branch of the South Fork Holston in Tennessee, but that population apparently is C. bairdii ("smoky sculpin") (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994).
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North America: occurs only in the extreme upper Clinch and Holston River systems (in Tennessee River drainage) in Virginia and Tennessee, USA.
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Upper Tennessee River draiange, Virginia and Tennessee, U.S.A.
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Physical Description

Size

Length: 7 cm

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Maximum size: 84 mm TL
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Max. size

8.4 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 5723))
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat Type: Freshwater

Comments: This sculpin typically occurs in cool to cold (i.e., trout-water) streams and spring runs with usually clear water and moderate to high gradient, including main river channels, larger tributaries, and headwater springs; it is rare in streams more than 15 meters wide; large juveniles and adults occur in riffles and runs with gravel to boulder substrates, occasionally in well-flowing parts of pools; adults tend to be most common in shallow, swift riffles; young generally inhabit stream margins and slow runs; nests with eggs have been found under stones in shallow riffles (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994).

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This sculpin typically occurs in cool to cold (i.e., trout-water) streams and spring runs with usually clear water and moderate to high gradient, including main river channels, larger tributaries, and headwater springs; it is rare in streams more than 15 meters wide; large juveniles and adults occur in riffles and runs with gravel to boulder substrates, occasionally in well-flowing parts of pools; adults tend to be most common in shallow, swift riffles; young generally inhabit stream margins and slow runs; nests with eggs have been found under stones in shallow riffles (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994).

Systems
  • Freshwater
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Environment

demersal; freshwater
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Migration

Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Eats almost exclusively immature aquatic insects in summer; rarely eats crustaceans, water mites, and fishes.

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20

Comments: This species is represented by a fairly large number of occurrences (subpopulations), and by more than 10 locations as defined by IUCN.

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Global Abundance

10,000 - 100,000 individuals

Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but presumably exceeds 10,000. This species is often common or abundant (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994). Common in small range (Page and Burr 2011).

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Spawns from late winter to mid-spring; most yearlings are immature (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994).

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

Reasons: Small range in the extreme upper Tennessee River drainage in western Virginia and northeastern Tennessee; currently stable; not clearly distinct from the smoky sculpin (Cottus bairdi).

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
NatureServe

Reviewer/s
Smith, K. & Darwall, W.R.T.

Contributor/s

Justification
Listed as Least Concern because this species is common and apparently stable in its small range; extent of occurrence is less than 5,000 sq km, but distribution is not severely fragmented, and the species occurs in more than 10 locations.
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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)

Comments: Currently stable (Warren et al. 2000).

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Population

Population
This species is represented by a fairly large number of occurrences (subpopulations), and by more than 10 locations as defined by IUCN.

Total adult population size is unknown but presumably exceeds 10,000. This species is often common or abundant (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994). Common in small range (Page and Burr 2011).

Currently stable (Warren et al. 2000).

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Degree of Threat: B : Moderately threatened throughout its range, communities provide natural resources that when exploited alter the composition and structure of the community over the long-term, but are apparently recoverable

Comments: No major threats exist at this time. Potential threats include pollution, impoundment, and other forms of habitat destruction.

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Major Threats
No major threats exist at this time. Potential threats include pollution, impoundment, and other forms of habitat destruction.
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Not Evaluated
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Management

Biological Research Needs: Research life history, taxonomy.

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Global Protection: Unknown whether any occurrences are appropriately protected and managed

Needs: Protect all element occurrences.

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Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Currently, this species is of relatively low conservation concern and does not require significant additional protection or major management, monitoring, or research action.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Status as a distinct species is debatable; possibly conspecific with the "smoky sculpin" form of C. bairdi; further taxonomic study is needed (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994).

Formerly included in the order Perciformes; the 1991 AFS checklist (Robins et al. 1991) followed Nelson (1984) in recognizing the order Scorpaeniformes as distinct from the Perciformes.

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