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Volume 79—1999

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Historical and New Records of the Goldstripe Darter, Etheostoma parvipinne, in Oklahoma

Roger P. Lemmons
Department of Zoology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019

Jimmie Pigg
Late of Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality, Oklahoma City, OK 73101-1677


Some fish species in the lowlands of southeastern Oklahoma are considered rare in the state, including the goldstripe darter, Etheostoma parvipinne (1,2). Although recent publications have documented new collections for a few of these rare fishes (3,4), there are none for E. parvipinne. Recent publications show E. parvipinne in only two bodies of water in Oklahoma, Gates Creek and Mountain Fork River (5,6). In this paper, we summarize all known Oklahoma records for E. parvipinne.


We searched the literature and the following university museums for Oklahoma records of E. parvipinne: Alabama, Cornell, Florida, Harvard, Illinois Natural History Survey, Kansas, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Texas. We found 22 collection records from 16 bodies of water in Oklahoma (Table 1). We only found five reports documenting original collections of E. parvipinne in the state. The first records of E. parvipinne in Oklahoma are based on collections in 1948 from Gates Creek by Moore and Cross (7), and from the Mountain Fork River by Rigney (7). Finnell and coworkers during a 1955 survey (8) collected E. parvipinne from four tributaries of the Little River system. Other darters collected from these sites included the orangebelly darter (E. radiosum; all 4 sites) and the slough darter (E. gracile; 2 sites)(8). Blair and Lindsay (9) anecdotally noted collecting E. parvipinne from a swamp in McCurtain County. Pigg and Hill (10) collected one specimen of E. parvipinne during a 1972-73 survey of the Kiamichi River. Other darters collected from this site where E. parvipinne was captured were E. radiosum and the logperch (Percina caprodes) (J. Pigg, unpublished data). Pigg (11) also collected one specimen of E. parvipinne during a 1974-75 survey of the Muddy Boggy River. Other darters collected from the same site where E. parvipinne was captured were E. gracile, E. radiosum, and the bluntnose darter (E. chlorosomum) (J. Pigg, unpublished data).


We are aware of only two records for E. parvipinne in Oklahoma since 1982 (Table 1). In a 1997 of the Blue River, Lemmons and Hood (unpublished data) collected three specimens of the species from a riffle of Red Branch Creek (Bryan Co.: T7S R12E S25). At this lowland site, the creek had a mean width of 3.4 m, a mean depth of 46 cm, and substrata of clay, sand, mud/silt, gravel and introduced cobble. The site was partially shaded and had no in-stream vegetation. No other darters were collected at this site.

Also in 1997, R. Lemmons and C. Lemmons (unpublished data) collected one specimen of EE. parvipinne from a riffle of Holly Branch Creek, a small, lowland tributary of the Red River less than 1.6 km upstream from their confluence, (McCurtain Co.: T9 R25E S32). The creek at this site had a mean width of 4.0 m, a mean depth of 25 cm, and substrata of mud/silt, gravel, and cobble. In addition glass bottles/jars and metal cans were present because the site had been used at one time as an illegal trash dump. It was completely shaded and had no in-stream vegetation. Other darters collected were E. gracile, the cypress darter (E. proeliare), P. caprodes, and the dusky darter (P. sciera).

Etheostoma parvipinne currently has a larger historical range in Oklahoma than indicated by earlier reports (1,2,5,6). Nonetheless, the species is uncommon in collections, and we agree with Robison and coworkers (2) that it should be considered rare in Oklahoma, although it is more

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abundant elsewhere, e.g., Alabama (12). There are indications that E. parvipinne has disappeared from historical areas of occurrence in Oklahoma. It was not found in post-impoundment surveys of the Mountain Fork River (13). Also, recent investigations of Gates Creek below Lake Raymond Gary did not produce any specimens; the creek bed was mainly dry except for a few pools dominated by centrarchids (J. Pigg, unpublished data). Etheostoma parvipinne may be extirpated from these areas because of its intolerance to changes in water quality and habitat (14).


We thank M. J. Hood and C. Lemmons for assistance in field collections. We also thank D. Hough and Dr. A. A. Echelle for providing museum records.


1.   Miller RJ, Robison HW. The fishes of Oklahoma. Stillwater (OK): Oklahoma State University Press; 1973. 246 p.

2.   Robison HW, Moore GA, Miller RJ. Threatened fishes of Oklahoma. Proc Okla Acad Sci 1974;54:139-146.

3.   Lemmons RP, Hood MJ, Hill LG. New Oklahoma localities for shortnose gar (Lepisosteus platostomus), largescale stoneroller (Campostoma oligolepis), and bluehead shiner (Pteronotropis hubbsi). Proc Okla Acad Sci 1997;77:125-126.

4.   Williams LR, Echelle AA. Collection in Oklahoma of a rare fish species, Notropis chalybaeus (Cyprinidae). Proc Okla Acad Sci 1998;78:115-116.

5.   Rohde FC. Etheostoma parvipinne, Gilbert and Swain, goldstripe darter. In: Lee DS, Gilbert CR, Hocutt CH, Jenkins RE, McAllister DE, Stauffer JR Jr, editors. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. Raleigh (NC): North Carolina State Museum of Natural History; 1980. p. 680.

6.   Page LM. Handbook of darters. Neptune City (NJ): T.F.H. Publications; 1983. 271 p.

7.   Moore GA, Cross FB. Additional Oklahoma fishes with validation of Poecilichthys parvipinnis (Gilbert and Swain). Copeia 1950; 1950:139-148.

8.   Finnell JC, Jenkins RM, Hall GE. The fishery resources of the Little River system, McCurtain County, Oklahoma. Norman (OK): Oklahoma Fishery Research Laboratory, Report 55; 1956.

9.   Blair AP, Lindsay HL. Hyla avivoca (Hylidae) in Oklahoma. Southwest Nat 1961;6:202.

10.   Pigg J, Hill LG. Fishes of the Kiamichi River, Oklahoma. Proc Okla Acad Sci 1974;54:121-130.

11.   Pigg J. A survey of the fishes of the Muddy Boggy River in south central Oklahoma. Proc Okla Acad Sci 1977;57:68-82.

12.   Mettee MF, O'Neil PE, Pierson JM. Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin. Birmingham (AL): Oxmoor House; 1996.820 p.

13.   Eley R, Randolph J, Carroll J. A comparison of pre- and post-impoundment fish populations in the Mountain Fork River in southeastern Oklahoma. Proc Okla Acad Sci 1981;61:7-14.

14.   Jester DB, Echelle AA, Matthews WJ, Pigg J, Scott CM, Collins KD. The fishes of Oklahoma, their gross habitats, and their tolerance of degradation in water quality and habitat. Proc Okla Acad Sci 1992;72:7-19.

Received: March 2,1999; Accepted: April 23,1999.