Palezone Shiner

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Palezone Shiner

Notropis albizonatus

ListedApril 27, 1993
FamilyCyprinidae (Minnow)
DescriptionA small, slender, translucent, strawcolored minnow with a dark midlateral stripe.
HabitatLarge creeks and small rivers in the Tennessee and Cumberland River systems.
FoodNot known; probably feeds on small aquatic invertebrates.
ReproductionNot known; probably lays eggs in a benthic nest.
ThreatsSiltation and other pollution from poor land use practices, coal mining and waste discharge.
RangeAlabama, Kentucky


The Palezone shiner, Notropis albizonatus, is a small slender minnow with a translucent and straw-colored with a dark midlateral stripe.


The Palezone shiner probably feeds on small aquatic invertebrates. It matures at a body length of about 1.5 in (38 mm). Breeding males develop tubercles by mid-May, and peak spawning condition occurs in June and may last into early July. Females have an extended abdomen which contain large, cream to yellow-colored ova in mid-May through late June. These observations suggest a spawning period from late-May through June and perhaps early July. Other aspects of spawning behavior are unknown.


This Notropis species inhabits large creeks and small rivers in the Tennessee and Cumberland River systems and inhabits flowing pools and runs with sand, gravel, and bedrock substrates. This Palezone shiner's distribution overlaps the Oak-Hickory Ecosystem and Nashville Basin. The elevation is about 660 ft (200 m) and most of the outer part of the Basin is deeply dissected and consists of steep slopes between narrow rolling ridgetops and narrow valleys. The inner part of the Basin is predominantly undulating and rolling. The average annual precipitation is about 35-45 in (89-114 cm). The soils of this ecosystem are varied, have a thermic temperature regime, an udic moisture regime and a clay subsoil.


This Notropis species has only been collected from four rivers, despite extensive collection efforts in the Tennessee and Cumberland River Systems. These rivers are the Paint Rock River, Jackson County, Alabama; the Little South Fork Cumberland River, Wayne and McCreary Counties, Kentucky; Marrowbone Creek, Cumberland County, Kentucky; and Cove Creek, Clinch River drainage, Campbell County, Tennessee.


Generally the Palezone shiner is threatened by water quality degradation as a result of siltation and other pollution from poor land use practices, coal mining and waste discharge. The Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers are renowned as two of the most severely altered riverine systems due to many anthropogenic activities. Most of the main stem of both rivers and many tributaries are impounded. In addition, there has been a loss of the riverine habitat and impoundments usually alter downstream aquatic habitats. Siltation and toxic runoff have been the result of coal mining activities which unavoidably have adversely affected many reaches. Runoff from urban areas has also degraded water and substrate quality. The aquatic faunal diversity has declined due to this habitat destruction. Due to the limited distribution of this species a stochastic event such as an accidental toxic chemical spill could cause extirpation. As the populations are separated by impoundments natural recolonization of an extirpated population would be virtually impossible. Future activities which could impact this species are the issuance of permits for hydroelectric facility construction and operation, coal mining, reservoir construction, stream alterations, wastewater facility development, pesticide registration and road and bridge construction. The Tennessee Valley Authority has indicated that the Point Rock River population is in the timber-sourcing area for three proposed wood-chip mills. Any large-scale timber harvesting could lead to population-level effects. Three wood-processing companies have applied to the Nashville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for permits under section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act and section 404 of the Clean Water Act and to the Tennessee Valley Authority for shoreline leases and section 26-A permits to construct and operate wood-chip mills located between Bridgeport, Alabama and New Hope, Tennessee.

Conservation and Recovery

A Recovery Plan for the Palezone shiner has been outlined. In order to ensure the continued survival of this species existing State and Federal legislation and regulation must be enforced. It will also be necessary to research the life history of the Palezone shiner, including spawning season and behavior, habitat requirements, age and growth, and food habits. Research should also be done concerning propagation and reintroduction techniques and habitat improvement techniques. In addition, efforts need to be made to reestablish other spawning populations, promote the safe use of pesticides by local farmers, regulate water quality, and monitor spawning areas. The date for the downlisting of the Palezone shiner is 2007, if all the recovery criteria have been met.


U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Asheville Ecological Services Field Office
160 Zillicoa Street
Asheville, North Carolina 28806-1082
Telephone: (828) 258-3939
Fax: (828) 258-5330

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Regional Office, Division of Endangered Species
1875 Century Blvd., Suite 200
Atlanta, Georgia 30345


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 27 April 1993. "Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Determination of Endangered Status for the Duskytail Darter, Palezone Shiner and Pygmy Madtom." Federal Register

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1996. "Palezone Shiner (Notropis sp.)." Endangered and Threatened Species of the Southeastern United States (The Red Book) FWS Region 4.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1997. "Recovery Plan for Palezone Shiner (Notropis albizonatus )." Atlanta, GA.

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Palezone Shiner

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