No More Eastern/Western Blacknose Dace

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Corey's picture
No More Eastern/Western Blacknose Dace

I normally don't keep track of the ever-changing micro species with any great rigor, but the American Fisheries Society just axed the Western Blacknose Dace as a species, so I'm going to get rid of it as well.  It's no longer considered a species, it's just R. atratulus.  So folks who have this species on their lifelist should switch it to Blacknose Dace for now, or delete it if they have both.  Eastern Blacknose dace now becomes the regular-old Blacknose Dace, R. atratulus, like it was for years.  I'll delete the invalid Western Blacknose in a week or so.


Rhinichthys atratulus. Recent arguments for recognizing R. obtusus as distinct from R. atratulus have been varied and inconsistent, as discussed in the Appendix to the 2004 list. Some publications treat obtusus as a subspecies of R. atratulus (W. J. Matthews, R. E. Jenkins, and J. T. Styron, 1982, Copeia 1982(4):902–920; R. E. Jenkins and N. M. Burkhead, 1994,Freshwater fishes of Virginia, American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland). Others recognize R. obtusus (R. M. Bailey, W. C. Latta, and G. R. Smith, 2004, Univ. Mich. Mus. Zool. Misc. Publ. 192:1–215) or R. meleagris (C. L. Smith, 1986 [dated 1985], The inland fishes of New York State, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation,Albany) as distinct from R. atratulus. D. A. Etnier and W. C. Starnes, 1994 [dated 1993], The fishes of Tennessee, The University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, and H. T. Boschung, Jr. and R. L. Mayden, 2004, Fishes of Alabama, Smithsonian Books, Washington, D.C., recognized three subspecies, R. a. atratulus, R. a. meleagris and R. a. obtusus, but describe different ranges for them. A study of 20 Canadian populations, covering the ranges of two putative taxa, could not differentiate the taxa using characters presented in those publications (B. A. Fraser, N. E. Mandrak, and R. L. McLaughlin, 2005, Can. J. Zool. 83:1502–1510). Although it seems likely that several populations within R. atratulus deserve taxonomic recognition, we remove R. obtusus from the list pending a comprehensive study of variation and return to the long-standing common name of Blacknose Dace for R. atratulus.


Larry M. Page, Curator of Fishes

Dickinson Hall

Florida Museum of Natural History

Outdoors4life's picture


Pretty crazy how much has changed in the past few years with minnow species.

It is all perspective!

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