Abstract

Bigscale Logperch Percina macrolepida is reported and substantiated for the first time in Arizona. A single specimen was collected during a routine survey of Cow Springs Lake on September 26, 2017, preliminarily identified as Percina sp., preserved, and retained for species identification. We verified the specimen was a Bigscale Logperch through genetic analysis. Review of published literature and the U.S. Geological Survey Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database suggests that this is the first known occurrence of Bigscale Logperch in Arizona. Further, three additional nonnative species were detected during our sampling events on June 21 and September 26, 2017—Smallmouth Buffalo Ictiobus bubalus, White Crappie Pomoxis annularis, and Gizzard Shad Dorosoma cepedianum—representing the first collection of these species in the Little Colorado River basin that we are aware of. We recommend further evaluation of the ecology, distribution, and abundance of these four nonnative species to better understand their effect on the native fishes of the watershed and the likelihood of establishment in the watershed and elsewhere in Arizona.

Introduction

Native fish assemblages are in decline across much of North America. This is often due, in part, to physical habitat alterations (e.g., changes in substrate, temperature, water quantity and timing; Rieman and McIntyre 1995; Neebling and Quist 2008), but the continued increase in nonnative species introductions has exacerbated this decline. A variety of mechanisms have been shown to have negative effects on the abundance and distribution of native fishes when nonnative species are introduced (Nico and Fuller 1999; Minckley and Marsh 2009). Predation, competition, and hybridization with nonnatives are considered to be the primary threats to many rare, including federally listed, aquatic species (Wilcove et al. 1998). Consequently, accurate and updated records of species distributions are important for proactive and informed management of both sport fisheries and native fishes of high conservation value.

On June 21 and September 26, 2017 we conducted the first known surveys of Cow Springs Lake, Arizona, during which we identified four unexpected nonnative fish species. We identified three of these species in the field and retained the fourth for genetic analysis. The purpose of this paper is to report the discovery of Bigscale Logperch Percina macrolepida and range expansions of three other fishes in Arizona. From these findings, we encourage additional planning and management actions to identify and address potential ecological impacts of these nonnatives.

Study Site

Cow Springs Lake is a shallow natural lake (∼3.6 ha) in Coconino County on the Navajo Nation near Tonalea, Arizona, fed by a natural spring and seasonal runoff (Figure 1). The lake is approximately 1,787 m above sea level in the Little Colorado River watershed (Stone et al. 2018) and the fishery consists primarily of stocked sport fish, Channel Catfish Ictalurus punctatus (∼4,000–5,000 annually) and Largemouth Bass Micropterus salmoides (last stocked in 2010). An ephemeral stream, Moenkopi Wash, could conceivably connect this lake to the Little Colorado River during extremely wet conditions. The Little Colorado River watershed is home to several native fishes of conservation concern including endangered Humpback Chub Gila cypha (U.S. Endangered Species Act [ESA 1973, as amended]; USFWS 1990) and threatened Little Colorado Spinedace Lepidomeda vittata (ESA 1973, as amended; USFWS 1997) and Apache Trout Oncorhynchus apache (ESA 1973, as amended; USFWS 2009). Other co-occurring native species that are exhibiting population declines of >10% and listed as vulnerable by the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD 2012), include Speckled Dace Rhinichthys osculus, Flannelmouth Sucker Catostomus latipinnis, and Bluehead Sucker C. discobolus.

Figure 1.

Cow Springs Lake, in relation to major rivers, on Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona where Bigscale Logperch Percina macrolepida, Smallmouth Buffalo Ictiobus bubalus, White Crappie Pomoxis annularis, and Gizzard Shad Dorosoma cepedianum were detected during the first known fish surveys conducted at the lake on June 21 and September 26, 2017.

Figure 1.

Cow Springs Lake, in relation to major rivers, on Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona where Bigscale Logperch Percina macrolepida, Smallmouth Buffalo Ictiobus bubalus, White Crappie Pomoxis annularis, and Gizzard Shad Dorosoma cepedianum were detected during the first known fish surveys conducted at the lake on June 21 and September 26, 2017.

Methods

Sampling

We conducted boat electrofishing (Smith-Root, Vancouver, WA; Model 18) on June 21 and September 26, 2017 to assess the fish assemblage (June survey) and remove invasive Gizzard Shad Dorosoma cepedianum (September survey) for a total of 1,800 and 7,049 s of effort, respectively (DC, 4–8 amperes, and 30–60 pulses/s). We identified most fish in the field and measured them to the nearest millimeter (total length). We euthanized any specimens that were not identifiable in the field, fixed them in hand sanitizer (63% ethyl alcohol; typical preservation supplies were not available), and returned them to our lab for genetic identification.

Genetic analysis

We individually transferred the two field-preserved tissue samples (partial intestine and caudal fin clip) to 95% ethanol prior to storage and DNA extraction at Southwestern Native Aquatic Resources and Recovery Center. We extracted genomic DNA from these tissues using DNeasy® Blood and Tissue Kits (Qiagen, Valencia, CA) and amplified the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene (COI) using the FISH COI LBC/HBC primers (Baldwin et al. 2009). Amplification consisted of 25-μL reactions containing the following: 2.5 μL DNA, 10 μL Qiagen Multiplex Master Mix® (Qiagen), 2.5 μL of both forward and reverse primers, and 10.0 μL of nuclease-free water using the following thermal cycling protocol: an initial denaturing step of 95°C for 15 min, followed by 35 cycles of 95°C for 15 s, 50°C for 15 s, and 72°C for 30 s, with a final extension of 7 min at 72°C. Amplification was confirmed using gel electrophoresis. We purified polymerase chain reaction products with positive amplification using ExoSAP-IT (Applied Biosystems, Inc., Foster City, CA) and sequenced at Southwestern Native Aquatic Resources and Recovery Center with the Big Dye sequencing kit (ver. 3.1) on an ABI 3130xl (Applied Biosystems®) 16-capillary Genetic Analyzer. We aligned and edited sequence data using Sequencher v4.9 (Gene Codes). We gathered reference sequences of likely candidates from the National Center for Biotechnology Information GenBank (National Center for Biotechnology Information, Bethesda, MD) for three Percina species: Logperch P. caprodes, Texas Logperch P. carbonaria, and Bigscale Logperch P. macrolepida.

Results

Sampling

We collected a single Percina sp., measured it (110 mm), identified it to genus in the field, and preserved it for further analyses on September 26, 2017 (Figure 2). We measured the specimen after fixation as 99 mm. We also captured Gizzard Shad (n = 259; 150–471 mm), White Crappie (Pomoxis annularis; n = 74; 134–235 mm), and Smallmouth Buffalo (Ictiobus bubalus; n = 6; 302–310 mm) during the two sampling events and identified them in the field. Attempts to identify the Percina sp. using meristic characteristics (14 dorsal spines, 14 dorsal rays, 2 anal spines, 10 anal rays, 14 pectoral rays) were unsuccessful because of overlap with other potential species (e.g., Logperch, Texas Logperch).

Figure 2.

Bigscale Logperch Percina macrolepida collected during an electrofishing survey at Cow Springs Lake, Arizona, on September 26, 2017.

Figure 2.

Bigscale Logperch Percina macrolepida collected during an electrofishing survey at Cow Springs Lake, Arizona, on September 26, 2017.

Genetic identification

We successfully sequenced a 600-base-pair fragment for both tissue types. To confirm species identification, we created a sequence alignment of the 21 variable nucleotide sites of Texas Logperch, Logperch, and Bigscale Logperch to examine nucleotide differences among haplotypes (Table 1). The unknown sample was identical to all 16 Bigscale Logperch reference sequences (Accession Numbers: JN028036–JN028041, DQ536430, KF558295, and NC008111), indicating that the individual found in Arizona matched the single haplotype that has been found in Texas, New Mexico, and California (Table 1).

Table 1.

Nucleotide position alignment showing the 21 variable sites of cytochrome oxidase subunit I gene. All sequences from known Percina samples and the two unknown samples from this study are compared with the first individual and a dash indicates an identical nucleotide compared with the first individual (DQ536430). Unknown samples in this study were collected from a single Percina specimen collected in Cow Springs Lake, Arizona, on September 26, 2017.

Nucleotide position alignment showing the 21 variable sites of cytochrome oxidase subunit I gene. All sequences from known Percina samples and the two unknown samples from this study are compared with the first individual and a dash indicates an identical nucleotide compared with the first individual (DQ536430). Unknown samples in this study were collected from a single Percina specimen collected in Cow Springs Lake, Arizona, on September 26, 2017.
Nucleotide position alignment showing the 21 variable sites of cytochrome oxidase subunit I gene. All sequences from known Percina samples and the two unknown samples from this study are compared with the first individual and a dash indicates an identical nucleotide compared with the first individual (DQ536430). Unknown samples in this study were collected from a single Percina specimen collected in Cow Springs Lake, Arizona, on September 26, 2017.

Discussion

Review of the U.S. Geological Survey Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database suggests that we observed and confirmed the first known occurrence of Bigscale Logperch in Arizona. White Crappie were locally known to be present in Cow Springs Lake (S. Claw, Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife, personal communication), but no records had been reported in the lake or elsewhere in the Little Colorado River watershed. Furthermore, we are not aware of any previous captures of Gizzard Shad or Smallmouth Buffalo in Cow Springs Lake or elsewhere in the watershed.

Bigscale Logperch

Bigscale Logperch are native to the Sabine, Red, and Rio Grande drainages in Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico in the United States, and have been introduced to drainages in Arizona (this study), California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas (Fuller 2020; Figure 3A). Bigscale Logperch are insectivores with a maximum length of 11 cm (Page and Burr 1991). Introductions are typically accidental and impacts are largely unknown (Fuller 2020).

Figure 3.

Reported (introduced) ranges of Bigscale Logperch Percina macrolepida (A; Fuller 2020), Gizzard Shad Dorosoma cepedianum (B; Fuller et al. 2020b), Smallmouth Buffalo Ictiobus bubalus (C; Fuller and Hopper 2020), and White Crappie Pomoxis annularis (D; Fuller et al. 2020a) in the United States.

Figure 3.

Reported (introduced) ranges of Bigscale Logperch Percina macrolepida (A; Fuller 2020), Gizzard Shad Dorosoma cepedianum (B; Fuller et al. 2020b), Smallmouth Buffalo Ictiobus bubalus (C; Fuller and Hopper 2020), and White Crappie Pomoxis annularis (D; Fuller et al. 2020a) in the United States.

Gizzard Shad

Gizzard Shad are native to drainages of the Southern Great Lakes, Mississippi, Atlantic, and Gulf Slope and have been introduced to adjacent drainages in the United States (Fuller et al. 2020b; Figure 3B). Gizzard Shad are planktivores that can reach lengths of 52 cm and demonstrate a high degree of invasion potential (Fuller et al. 2020b). Introductions are typically done as stockings for forage or are accidental; impacts include competition for food resulting in reduced growth and size in centrarchids and increased phytoplankton levels and turbidity (Fuller et al. 2020b).

Smallmouth Buffalo

Smallmouth Buffalo are native to drainages of the Mississippi River basin, Lake Michigan, and Gulf Slope and generally have been introduced to adjacent drainages in the United States (Fuller and Hopper 2020; Figure 3C). Smallmouth Buffalo are omnivores that can reach lengths of 78 cm (Fuller and Hopper 2020). Introductions are typically accidental and impacts have not been researched (Fuller and Hopper 2020).

White Crappie

White Crappie are native to the Mississippi River basin, the Southern Great Lakes, and Gulf Slope drainages, and have been widely introduced from coast to coast in the United States (Fuller et al. 2020a; Figure 3D). White Crappie are piscivores that can reach lengths of 53 cm (Fuller et al. 2020a). Typically introduced as sportfish, White Crappie may prey on native species and reduce their numbers and diversity (Fuller et al. 2020a).

Illegal human translocation or inadvertent introduction during routine stocking activities at Cow Springs Lake may explain the observed range expansions. However, methods of dispersal and future ecological impacts remain uncertain. We visited Cow Springs Lake in January 2020 to record measurements to inform renovation planning and found the lake desiccated, thus eliminating these potential source populations. We are not aware of the lake ever overflowing, but there remains a possibility that these nonnative species could have been introduced into the Little Colorado River from Cow Springs Lake via Moenkopi Wash during extreme high-water conditions. The largest known population of Humpback Chub (endangered) as well as other native fish (e.g., Flannelmouth Sucker, Bluehead Sucker) could be affected by introductions of additional nonnative fishes into the Little Colorado River. We submit these findings so that concerned scientists and managers can make informed decisions about the need for evaluating the likelihood of establishment elsewhere and possible impacts to the native fish communities and recreational fisheries of the watershed.

Supplemental Material

Please note: The Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management is not responsible for the content or functionality of any supplemental material. Queries should be directed to the corresponding author for the article.

Reference S1.[AZGFD] Arizona Game and Fish Department. 2012. Arizona's state wildlife action plan: 2012–2022. Phoenix: Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Found at DOI: https://doi.org/10.3996/JFWM-20-005.S1 (4.79 MB PDF); also available at https://s3.amazonaws.com/azgfd-portal-wordpress/PortalImages/files/wildlife/2012-2022_Arizona_State_Wildlife_Action_Plan.pdf.

Reference S2.Stone DM, Young KL, Baumler CE, Pillow MJ, Van Haverbeke D. 2018. Aquatic invasive species surveillance in the Little Colorado River Basin during 2017. Prepared for U.S. Geological Survey Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center, Flagstaff, Arizona.

Found at DOI: https://doi.org/10.3996/JFWM-20-005.S2 (553 KB PDF); also available at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326580281_Aquatic_Invasive_Species_Surveillance_in_the_Little_Colorado_River_Basin_during_2017_Final_Report.

Reference S3.[USFWS] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1990. Humpback chub recovery plan. Denver, Colorado: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Found at DOI: https://doi.org/10.3996/JFWM-20-005.S3 (348 KB PDF); also available at https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/arizona/Documents/RecoveryPlans/Humpback_Chub_1990.pdf.

Reference S4.[USFWS] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1997. Little Colorado River Spinedace, Lepidomeda vittata, recovery plan. Albuquerque, New Mexico: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Found at DOI: https://doi.org/10.3996/JFWM-20-005.S4 (3.5 MB PDF); also available at https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/arizona/Documents/RecoveryPlans/Spinedace.pdf.

Reference S5.[USFWS] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2009. Apache Trout recovery plan, second revision. Albuquerque, New Mexico: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Found at DOI: https://doi.org/10.3996/JFWM-20-005.S5 (1.27 MB PDF); also available at https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/arizona/Documents/SpeciesDocs/Apache_Trout/Apache%20Trout%20Recovery%20Plan%202nd%20Revision.pdf.

Acknowledgments

This work was jointly supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife. We would like to thank Jennifer Johnson and Shannon Claw for assistance with field sampling, Jennifer Johnson for providing the image for Figure 2, and Jennifer Graves for developing the map figures. We thank Jennifer Graves, Dennis Stone, Kirk Young, two anonymous reviewers, and the Associate Editor for their comments on drafts of the manuscript.

Any use of trade, product, website, or firm names in this publication is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

References

References
[AZGFD] Arizona Game and Fish Department.
2012
.
Arizona's state wildlife action plan: 2012–2022
.
Phoenix
:
Arizona Game and Fish Department (see Supplemental Material, Reference S1)
.
Baldwin
CC,
Mounts
JH,
Smith
DG,
Weight
LA.
2009
.
Genetic identification and color descriptions of early life-history stages of Belizean Phaeoptyx and Astrapogon (Teleostei: Apogonidae) with Comments on identification of adult Phaeoptyx
.
Zootaxa
2008
:
1
22
.
Fuller
P.
2020
.
Percina macrolepida Stevenson, 1971: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, Florida
.
Fuller
P,
Cannister
M,
Neilson
M,
Hopper
K.
2020
a.
Pomoxis annularis Rafinesque 1818: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, Florida
.
Fuller
P,
Hopper
K.
2020
.
Ictiobus bubalus Rafinesque 1818: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, Florida
.
Fuller
P,
Neilson
ME,
Hopper
K.
2020
b.
Dorosoma cepedianum Lesueur, 1818: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, Florida
.
Minckley
WL,
Marsh
PC.
2009
.
Inland fishes of the greater southwest: chronicle of a vanishing biota
.
Tucson
:
The University of Arizona Press
.
Neebling
TE,
Quist
MC.
2008
.
Observations on the distribution and status of Western Sand Darter, Spotted Gar, and Skipjack Herring in Iowa rivers
.
Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science
115
:
24
27
.
Nico
LG,
Fuller
PL.
1999
.
Spatial and temporal patterns of nonindigenous fish introductions in the United States
.
Fisheries
24
:
16
27
.
Page
LM,
Burr
BM.
1991
.
A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico
.
Boston
:
Houghton Mifflin Company
.
Rieman
BE,
McIntyre
JD.
1995
.
Occurrence of Bull Trout in naturally fragmented habitat patches of varied size
.
Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
124
:
285
296
.
Stone
DM,
Young
KL,
Baumler
CE,
Pillow
MJ,
Van Haverbeke
D.
2018
.
Aquatic invasive species surveillance in the Little Colorado River Basin during 2017
.
Prepared for U.S. Geological Survey Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center, Flagstaff, Arizona
(see Supplemental Material, References S2).
[ESA] U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, Pub. L. No. 93-205, 87 Stat. 884 (Dec. 28, 1973)
.
[USFWS] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
1990
.
Humpback chub recovery plan
.
Denver, Colorado
:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (see Supplemental Material, Reference S3)
.
[USFWS] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
1997
.
Little Colorado River Spinedace, Lepidomeda vittata, recovery plan
.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (see Supplemental Material, Reference S4)
.
[USFWS] U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
2009
.
Apache Trout recovery plan, second revision
.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (see Supplemental Material, Reference S5)
.
Wilcove
DS,
Rothstein
D,
Dubow
J,
Phillips
A,
Losos
E.
1998
.
Quantifying threats to imperiled species in the United States
.
BioScience
48
:
607
615
.

Author notes

Citation: Jackson ZJ, Selby G, Wilson WD, Diver TA. 2020. The first record of Bigscale Logperch and range expansions of Smallmouth Buffalo, White Crappie, and Gizzard Shad in Arizona. Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management 11(2):542–549; e1944-687X. https://doi.org/10.3996/JFWM-20-005

Competing Interests

The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Supplementary data