Chrosomus oreas
Chrosomus oreas
(Mountain Redbelly Dace)
Native Transplant
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Chrosomus oreas Cope, 1868

Common name: Mountain Redbelly Dace

Synonyms and Other Names: Phoxinus oreas (Cope, 1868)

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Page and Burr (1991); Jenkins and Burkhead (1994).

Size: 7.2 cm.

Native Range: Mountain and Piedmont regions of Atlantic Slope from Shenandoah River (Potomac River drainage), Virginia, to Neuse River drainage, North Carolina, upper New River drainage, West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina (Page and Burr 1991).

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Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: This species is known from (and possibly introduced into) the Yadkin River system (Pee Dee River drainage) of North Carolina (Bortone 1972; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Menhinick 1991; Jenkins and Burkhead 1994), and the upper Cape Fear and upper Tennessee drainage (Watauga).  Museum specimens were found in the upper Cape Fear, but it was not listed as occurring there in Menhinick (1991). The first specimen from this drainage was in 1992 (NCSM 17930).  This species is thought to be introduced in the upper Pee Dee drainage in South Carolina (Hocutt et al. 1986), and was first found in the upper Santee in 1999 (NCSM 32857).  In Tennessee, it is known from the upper Tennessee drainage (Strange and Mayden 2009).  In Virginia, it is known from (and possibly introduced into) several Atlantic slope drainages including the Potomac River drainage (i.e., Straight Creek of the South Branch system and South Fork of the Shenandoah River system); the Rappahannock River drainage (sites in the Rapidan River system and upper Rappahannock proper); and the Pee Dee River drainage (Hocutt et al. 1986; Jenkins and Burkhead 1994). It is also known from (and possibly introduced into) the upper Holston River system (Tennessee-Ohio River basin) the lower James drainage, and the Upper Levisa drainage of Virginia (Page and Burr 1991; Jenkins and Burkhead 1994; Powers and Ceas 2000).

Means of Introduction: Probable bait bucket releases, multiple introductions to a drainage seem possible (Jenkins and Burkhead (1994). According to Jenkins and Burkhead (1994), the species was first recorded in the South Fork of the Shenandoah in 1956, Straight Creek in 1975, the Rapidan in 1951, the upper Rappahannock in 1974, the Pee Dee in North Carolina in 1970, the Pee Dee in Virginia in 1983-1984, and the Holston in 1966 (possibly as early as 1955). The population in the Rapidan likely came from the nearby James River. Jenkins and Burkhead noted that the availability of this species to bait seiners and its spectacular coloration increase the probability of this fish being moved about in bait buckets.

Status: Reported from, possibly established in, the Pee Dee River drainage of North Carolina. Established in Virginia in all drainages mentioned except, possibly, the Holston.

Impact of Introduction: Unknown.

Remarks: There is some uncertainty concerning the native versus nonindigenous distribution of this species. Citing Ross and Carico (1963), Starnes and Etnier (1986) stated that Holston River records of Chrosomus oreas oreas (and that of Clinostomus funduloides funduloides) were likely the result of accidental introduction, since each taken was based on a single collection of a very small number of individuals. Hocutt et al. (1986) listed it as introduced to the Pee Dee River drainage and as introduced (but possibly native) to the Rappahannock and Potomac river drainages. In his summary table on North Carolina fishes, Menhinick (1991) listed it as "probably introduced" to the Yadkin River drainage. In their summary table on Virginia fishes, Jenkins and Burkhead (1994) listed this species as "regarded as introduced, but possibly native" for three Atlantic Slope drainages (Potomac, Rappahannock, and Pee Dee) and one Ohio River basin drainage (Holston); they listed it as "regarded as native, but possibly introduced" to another Atlantic Slope drainage, the York. Jenkins and Burkhead (1994) summarized the distribution of this species in detail and discussed at length its introduction, or possible introduction, into various drainages.

Strange and Mayden (2009) recently reassigned all North American species of Phoxinus to Chrosomus.

References: (click for full references)

Bortone, S.A. 1972. Recent capture of Phoxinus oreas (Pisces: Cyprinidae) from the Yadkin-Pee Dee River drainage, North Carolina. Journal of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society 88:28-29.

Hocutt, C.H., R.E. Jenkins, and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. 1986. Zoogeography of the fishes of the central Appalachians and central Atlantic Coastal Plain. 161-212 in C.H. Hocutt and E.O. Wiley, eds. The zoogeography of North American freshwater fishes. John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY.

Jenkins, R.E., and N.M. Burkhead. 1994. Freshwater fishes of Virginia. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD.

Lee, D.S., C.R. Gilbert, C.H. Hocutt, R.E. Jenkins, D.E. McAllister, and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, NC.

Menhinick, E.F. 1991. The freshwater fishes of North Carolina. North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Raleigh, NC.

Page, L.M., and B.M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. The Peterson Guide Series, vol. 42. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.

Powers, S.L. and P.A. Ceas. 2000. Ichthyofauna and biogeography of Russell Fork (Big Sandy River - Ohio River). Southeastern Fishes Council Proceedings 41:1-12.

Ross, R.D., and J.E. Carico. 1963. Records and distribution problems of fishes of the North, Middle, and South Forks of the Holston River, Virginia. Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station Technical Bulletin 161:1-24.

Starnes, W. C. and D. A. Etnier. 1986. Drainage evolution and fish biogeography of the Tennessee and Cumberland rivers drainage realm. 325-362 in C.H. Hocutt and E.O. Wiley, eds. The oogeography of North American freshwater fishes. John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY.

Strange, R.M. and R.L. Mayden. 2009. Phylogenetic relationships and a revised taxonomy for North American cyprinids assigned to Phoxinus (Actinopterygii: Cyprinidae). Copeia 2009(3):494-501.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Leo Nico, Matt Neilson, and Pam Fuller

Revision Date: 3/27/2014

Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016

Citation Information:
Leo Nico, Matt Neilson, and Pam Fuller, 2018, Chrosomus oreas Cope, 1868: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL,, Revision Date: 3/27/2014, Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016, Access Date: 1/20/2018

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.

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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2018]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [1/20/2018].

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