Percina burtoni, Blotchside Logperch
The blotchside logperch is a large darter with an overall wide but disrupted distribution, with only a few remaining highly isolated populations, consisting of relatively few individuals. Though not Federally Endangered, it is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.
Efforts to captively propagate blotchside logperch from the Little River for reintroduction to the streams will hopefully enhance the conservation and survival of this isolated and imperiled population. Historic records exist for the species in Abrams Creek, and there can be little doubt that it was present in both Citico Creek and the Tellico River in the past. Both of the latter streams still support healthy populations of the common logperch, Percina caprodes, which invariably also occurs wherever blotchside logperch exist. All of these streams possess suitable habitat and exhibit the relatively high water quality required by this sensitive species.
Initial efforts at CFI to propagate blotchside logperch collected from Spring Creek, a tributary to the Hiwassee River, had limited success, but resulted in the development of propagation protocols for the species. Those techniques, as well more recent refinements, which were developed to propagate more than a thousand common logperch to serve as hosts in mussel propagation, have been applied to this project. In 2007, blotchside logperch brood stock collected from Little River failed to spawn, presumably due to the proximity of the collection time to the breeding season, with the stress of acclimation to confinement resulting in loss of reproductive condition or interference with “normal” behavior. In 2008, the resulting breeding group spawned from mid-April to mid-May, ultimately resulting in the production of 44 juveniles which were released in Tellico River in 2008. This constituted the first ever release of propagated blotchside logperch. In, 2009, CFI produced 129 young for our second release into Tellico River. Breeding has continued with 24 larvae released in 2010, and 137 released in 2012. One thing that we have learned over the years of working with logperch is that the more primitive logperches invest more in each egg, and therefore produce fewer eggs. The blotchside logperch has more yolk investment in each egg, making for much bigger eggs and larvae than we have worked with as compared to the other logperches. We are happy to be continually learning and modifying breeding and larval procedures to increase production of these fish over the years.