Endangered Species

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Thereare different animals that have become endangered all over the globe,which originates from factors such as unfavorable environment or evenhuman activities among other aspects. The Blackmouth Shiner has beenlisted as a species of concern because of its slightly small range,occurring at a few locations only in Florida, Alabama, andMississippi. This report will discuss Blackmouth Shiner as anendangered species in Florida.


Firstdiscovered in 1939 in Pond Creek in Santa Rosa County, Florida,another encounter with the N.melanostomus wasnot recorded again until 1976, when a large collection was made atthe same location. Subsequently in 1977, N.melanostomus wascollected in flood pools of the Shoal River in Walton County,Florida. The Pond Creek and the Shoal River watersheds remain theonly known locations within the State of Florida, that N.melanostomus maintainpopulations. Since the discovery of the species only two otherdisparate populations were identified (Livingston 46). One populationwas encountered in 1986 in Mississippi, in the Black Creek tributaryof the Pascagoula River. This rare fish species was officiallydescribed and named in 1989 by S.A. Bortone. This led to theidentification of three locations in the floodplain ponds of thePascagoula River Drainage. The sampling focused on the main channelsand did not extensively survey the many backwater areas found inabundance in the area. After the suggestion from Suttkus and Bailey(1989) that there were “other undiscovered disjunct populations”of N.melanostomus inthe Pascagoula River which contains a large network of floodplainponds and oxbow lakes, O’Connell et al. (1998) conducted moreextensive surveys for N.melanostomus at35 sites in the Pascagoula floodplain from April to June, 1995. Siteswere selected based on the habitat descriptions of Bortone (1993) whoindicated a perceived preference for backwater areas with aquaticvegetation. The goals were to find new populations and gain a betterunderstanding of the habitat preferences of N.melanostomus.This effort led to the discovery of eight new sites, which arelocated in the ephemeral ponds and oxbow lakes that are isolated fromthe main channel of the Pascagoula River except during high waterevents. Morphometric statistics, such as standard length, scale andray counts, were taken on all of the 439 specimens collected duringthis study. It is notable that most (414 of 439) of the individualscollected were juveniles, based on a smaller size class (Livingston56). After unsuccessful surveys in 1998, 1999, 2001, and 2002, astudy conducted by O’Connell et al. in 2005, attempted to determineif the sampling efforts to date provided enough information todescribe with confidence the actual range of N.melanostomus. Usinga method developed by Ponder et al. (2001) to analyze the spatialdistribution and test recent sampling to six background populationsof associated species to identify sampling “gaps” in N.melanostomusdata.This study provided several key conclusions there is not sufficientsampling effort, increased understanding of habitat and focusedsampling can lead to greater confidence in distributions, and thisstatistical method could be used to quantify the effectiveness offuture sampling efforts. The main conclusion was that there is notsufficient information to confine the actual range of N.melanostomus.This was confirmed by an isolated discovery of N.melanostomus inthe Mobile River drainage in Alabama in 2003.


Theblackmouth shiner is a member of the Notropisgenus and can attain a body length of 1.5 inches. The species has agray coloration with large black eyes, abdominal region that isblack, and has a black stripe which runs lengthwise in the midsectionof its sides. A key distinguishing feature is its size since it issmaller compared to other cyprinid species. Furthermore, it has longand more gill rakers than other Notropissince it has 15-18 while others have 4-11 or 11-13 gill rakers. Thefish has a lateral line that helps it to detect when there is danger(Page &amp Burr 28).


Thefish dwells in the backwaters of rivers as well as streams that arecompletely or partly separated from the main channel. In Florida, thespecies can be found in the Yellow, Shoal, and Blackwater River, aswell as Pond Creek. In Mississippi, it can be found in ChickasawhayRiver while, in Alabama, it can be spotted at Bay Minnette Creek. Thespecies has been associated with Atlantic white cedar, pond cypress,different pine species, and sweet gum. Most of the locations wherethe species has been collected are ephemeral water-bodies. Thespecies is associated with sites that are less turbid. The habitatfor the fish is acid to moderately acidic having a PH of around5.4-6.8 (Page &amp Burr 34).

BlackmouthShiner Niche

BlackmouthShiner feeds on different varieties of algae, zooplankton,phytoplankton, roftiers, as well as small crustaceans. The fishusually obtains its food from the environment that it is in forexample, since algaes are in a position to grow in the waters, thefish easily accesses the food (Livingston 68). This kind of fish canbe categorized as an omnivore because it feeds on crustaceans andplants. An animal is categorized as an herbivore in case it feeds onboth plants and other animals, or basically if an animal can be in aposition to eat flesh crops or plant products. In this case, the fishis a herbivore because it both plants and flesh since it eats smallcrustaceans and algae. However, the fish cannot be classified as aspecialist because it is not selective in its food choices.Therefore, the species can be considered as a general herbivore.

Reproductionof Blackmouth Shiner

Reproductionis exceedingly important for an organism because it ensures thatthere is survival. When an animal reproduces, it is in a position togive rise to a new generation that would make the existence of theorganism. The species lays eggs, which are fertilized to give rise tonew generation. Breeding usually happens from late spring through thesummer amid the months of March and August due to the warmertemperatures that are available during this timeline. Spawning hasnever been observed for the species, but there are substrate spawnerswithin the species. The species attains maturity at a standard lengthof approximately 0.8 inches. The average egg mass per female is about60-70 eggs. When breeding, males usually develop tubercles on theirlower and upper jaws, pectoral fin rays, and head (Florida Fish andWildlife Conservation Commission 12).

LifeExpectancy and Social Interactions

Thespecies has a short life span, which is usually not more than twoyears. In interacting with other members, the species exists as agroup. In most cases, the fish moves in groups this indicates thatthey have a strong interaction within their habitat.

WhyBlackmouth Shiner is Endangered

Themajor threats to the existence of blackmouth shiner emanate from itsshort life span and their temporal chief habitats are brief insurvival. The small range of the species is also a threat to theexistence of the animal and may be considered to cause the extinctionof the fish, especially in Florida. Furthermore, increased pollutionof water emerges as a threat to the survival of the fish since itaffects the quality of water (Page &amp Burr 40).


Theblackmouth shiner is a member of the Notropisgenus and can attain a body length of 1.5 inches. The species has agray coloration with large black eyes, abdominal region that isblack, and has a black stripe which runs lengthwise in the midsectionof its sides. A key distinguishing feature is its size since it issmaller compared to other cyprinid species. The fish dwells in thebackwaters of rivers as well as streams that are completely or partlyseparated from the main channel. Blackmouth Shiner feeds on differentvarieties of algae, zooplankton, phytoplankton, roftiers, as well assmall crustaceans. The fish usually obtains its food from theenvironment that it is in for example, since algae are in a positionto grow in the waters, the fish easily accesses the food. The specieslays eggs, which are fertilized to give rise to new generation.Breeding usually happens from late spring through the summer amid themonths of March and August due to the warmer temperatures that areavailable during this timeline. The fish has a short life span ofaround two years.


FloridaFish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Aspecies action plan for the Blackmouth Shiner, Notropis melanostomus.Tallahassee, Florida: Florida Fish and Wildlife ConservationCommission, 2013. Print.

Livingston,Robert J. TheRivers of Florida.New York, NY: Springer New York, 2012. Print.

Page,Lawrence M. and Brooks M. Burr. PetersonField Guide to Freshwater Fishes of North America North of Mexico.Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011. Print.

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