|Florida Nature: Endangered Fish (2)|
Bass (Micropterus notius) SSC- Originally restricted to the
Suwannee and Ochlockonee River systems of Florida and Georgia, the
Suwannee bass also occupies spring-fed lower reaches of the Santa Fe and
Ichetucknee rivers, tributaries of the Suwannee River and the St. Marks
and Aucilla/Wacissa systems where it was introduced. The Suwannee bass
is a heavy-bodied bass seldom exceeding 12 inches long. The most unique
characteristic of a mature Suwannee bass is its bright turquoise, blue
coloring on the cheeks, breast, and ventral parts. The upper jaw does
not extend beyond the eye. Also, there is a shallow notch between the
dorsal fins with a distinct connection between the spiny and soft-rayed
dorsal fins. Young fish feed on aquatic insects and small crustaceans.
Larger fish feed heavily on crayfish and also take small fishes.
Rivulus (Rivulus marmoratus) SSC- The mangrove rivulus is the only rivulus found in North America and its presence in our waters was only recently detected. The mangrove rivulus is primarily a saltwater or brackish water species, with limited occurrence in freshwater. It can tolerate salinities from 0-68 parts per thousand. Within the Everglades and along Florida's west coast, this fish occurs in stagnant, seasonal ponds and sloughs as well as in mosquito ditches within mangrove habitats. Along the east coast of Florida, it resides in elevated marsh habitats above the intertidal zone, often within the burrows of the great land crab. This fish can reach a maximum size of 2 inches (5 cm) in length, however it is more commonly observed at lengths between 0.4-1.5 inches (1.0-3.8 cm). Predators include other fish and wood storks, as well as possibly the Atlantic saltmarsh snake which is often found in crab burrows containing mangrove rivulus.
Lake Eustis Pupfish (Cyprinodon variegatus hubbsi) SSC- This subspecies is very similar to the much more common sheepshead minnow. Small, typically 2 - 3 inches, the lake Eustis pupfish is a stout, deep-bodied fish with clear dorsal and caudal fins. The general body color is beige to olive with dark, irregular stripes. Known only from a group of interconnected lakes that form the headwaters of the Oklawaha River, the Lake Eustis pupfish is only found in Lake Orange and Marion County Florida. The lake Eustis pupfish inhabits a very narrow shallow zone of shoreline that is usually devoid of vegetation.
Blackmouth Shiner (Notropis melanostomus) Endangered- A small (less than 1.5-inch long) streamlined shiner that occurs only in the Blackwater-Yellow River system (Pensacola Bay drainage). Blackmouth Shiners are fairly nondescript and can be mistaken for other superficially similar minnows and young shiners Population has been reduced to an endangered number by the encroachment of people into this limited habitat. They are found in backwaters and quiet pools of creeks and small rivers; usually over mud near vegetation. Urban and industrial development of the Milton, Florida, region is rapidly degrading habitat and it is feared that extinction of the Florida population of the Blackmouth Shiner is likely in foreseeable future.
Bluenose Shiner (Pteronotropis welaka) SSC- The spectacular colors exhibited by male bluenose shiners in breeding condition place them among the most beautiful minnows in North America. As the common name indicates, breeding males have bright blue snouts. The extremely enlarged dorsal, pelvic, and anal fins are also colorful. Bluenose shiners usually inhabit quiet backwaters and vegetated pools of streams and rivers. These pools generally have bottoms of mud or sand, with abundant growths of golden club and other aquatic vegetation. In Florida the bluenose shiner can be found in the western panhandle, from Jackson county to Escambia county and the upper tributaries of the St. Johns River.
Saltmarsh Topminnow (Fundulus jenkinsi) SSC- The saltmarsh topminnow is one of the smallest topminnows seldom exceeding 1.5-2.0 inches. It is believed the species only lives for one to two years, making this species vulnerable to drastic year class variations and susceptible to local extinctions. Saltmarsh topminnows breed in shallow flooded marshes from the north-central coast of the Gulf of Mexico to western Florida. It is believed that specimens can be found in the Perdido, Escambia, and East Bays of Florida. They are generally associated with salt marshes and brackish water, but can survive in fresh water. Habitat alteration, dredging, and marsh erosion are the most serious threats to the saltmarsh topminnow.
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