Five new fish species were scientifically described last week, all after former or current U.S leaders who have records of environmental leadership and commitment. Three species are found in Tennessee, which already leads the nation in freshwater fish diversity with 315 species. These new species were formerly considered isolated populations of the wide-ranging Speckled Darter (Etheostoma stigmaeum) but are now recognized as distinct species based on morphology and male breeding colors.
The Speckled Darter (Etheostoma stigmaeum) is less widely
distributed than previously thought but still occurs in Gulf of Mexico
drainages from Pensacola Bay in Florida and Alabama west to the Red, Atchafalaya,
and Saline rivers in Louisiana.
These new species are
part of a group of darters (subgenus Doration)
that are found throughout southeastern river drainages west of the
Appalachians. The new species, described by Steve Layman at Geosyntec
Consultants in Kennesaw GA and Rick Mayden at Saint Louis University MO, include
Etheostoma obama, the Spangled
Darter, found entirely within Tennessee; Etheostoma
gore, the Cumberland Darter and Etheostoma
jimmycarter, the Bluegrass Darter, both found in Tennessee and Kentucky; Etheostoma teddyroosevelt, the Highland
Darter from the Ozark Plateau in Missouri, Arkansas, and the corners of Kansas
and Oklahoma; and Etheostoma clinton,
the Beaded Darter from the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas.
Distribution of nine
darter species in the subgenus Doration,
including five new species of darters named after U.S. presidents and vice
president (Etheostoma obama, E. gore, E. teddyroosevelt, E.
jimmycarter, and E. clinton).
Etheostoma obama, the Spangled Darter is named after President
Barack Obama for his policies on promoting clean energy, energy efficiency,
environmental protection, and humanitarian effort during challenging economic
times. This species is restricted to the Duck and Buffalo rivers in the
Tennessee River drainage, Tennessee.
Etheostoma obama, the Spangled Darter.
Etheostoma gore is named after former
Vice President Al Gore for his environmental vision during decades of public
service and raising awareness on the issue of global climate change. In the description the common name was the Cumberland Darter, but that name is already applied to another darter, Etheostoma susanae. The new common name is the Warioto Darter; Warioto is the Shawnee name for the Cumberland River. This
species is restricted to the Cumberland River drainage below Cumberland Falls
in Tennessee and Kentucky, excluding the upper Caney Fork drainage.
Etheostoma gore, the Warioto Darter.
Etheostoma jimmycarter, the Bluegrass Darter is named after former
President Jimmy Carter for his environmental leadership in national energy
policy and wilderness protection, and his life-long commitment to global social
justice and human rights. This species is restricted to the Green River system
in Tennessee and Kentucky.
Etheostoma jimmycarter, the Bluegrass Darter.
Etheostoma teddyroosevelt, the Highland Darter is named after former
President Theodore Roosevelt for his enduring environmental conservation legacy
by the designation of national forests, wildlife refuges, national monuments,
and national parks, as well as his efforts to establish the American Museum of
Natural History in New York. This species is found in the Arkansas and upper
White River drainages on the Ozark Plateau in Missouri, Arkansas, and the
corners of Kansas and Oklahoma.
Etheostoma teddyroosevelt, the Highland Darter.
Etheostoma clinton, the Beaded Darter is named after former
President Bill Clinton for his environmental leadership in expanding national
monuments and preserving large expanses of wilderness areas and his continued
commitment to global humanitarian issues. This species is restricted to the
upper Caddo and upper Ouachita River drainages in the Ouachita Mountains in
Etheostoma clinton, the Beaded Darter.
All darter illustration by Joe Tomelleri.
Steven R., and Richard L. Mayden. 2012. Morphological diversity and
phylogenetics of the darter subgenus Doration
(Percidae: Etheostoma), with
descriptions of five new species. Bulletin of the Alabama Museum of Natural
History Number 30:1-83.
This blog was undated on 29 November 2012 to reflect the new common name for Etheostoma gore.