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Georgia Journal of Science

Abstract

An ichthyofauna review of literature prior to 2008 on the Withlacoochee River basin in south-central Georgia, USA, indicated that the fish fauna was underrepresented compared to other rivers, such as the Suwannee River basin in Florida of which the Withlacoochee River is a tributary. A survey would provide the state of Georgia potentially valuable additional information on the fish fauna within the basin. A 45-site survey within the eastern portion of the Withlacoochee River basin was conducted from 2008 to 2010 employing seines, gill nets, fish traps, trotlines, and creel surveys. Surveys yielded 51 fish species of which three, the Alabama Shad (Alosa alabamae), the Suwannee Bass (Micropterus notius), and the Metallic Shiner (Pteronotropis metallicus), are species of concern in Georgia with the Alabama Shad and the Suwannee Bass listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature threatened species red list. Three species not previously recorded in the Withlacoochee River basin, the Brown Darter (Etheostoma edwini), the Gulf Coast Pygmy Sunfish (Elassoma gilberti), and the Hogchoker (Trinectes maculatus) were collected. The first known sympatric populations of the Everglades Pygmy Sunfish (Elassoma evergladei) and the Gulf Coast Pygmy Sunfish were found at one location. Invasive species found in the drainage basin were the Green Sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus) and two specimens of Pacu (Piaractus brachypomus). A Friedman cumulative comparison indicated that fish assemblage distribution patterns, as related the stream orders of the river and the potential impact of a sinkhole plain in the river, did not vary from other published surveys on distribution patterns. However, a cluster analysis comparing species composition by collection site showed some similarities among river orders.

Acknowledgements

As the editor-in-chief of the Georgia Journal of Science, upon submission of this manuscript, I, David L. Bechler, have recused myself of all aspects of the review process and assigned the associate editor all aspects of the review process to include acceptance or rejection. Sampling occurred May 2008 to May 2010 under Georgia Department of Natural Resources scientific collection permit CN:9134. Lots of fish have been transferred from the Valdosta State University collection to the Georgia Museum of Natural History

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