Faculty Research at Morehead State University


Conservation Status of the Longhead Darter, Percina macrocephala, in Kinnicock Creek, Kentucky

Document Type


Publication Date



Percina macrocephala, the Longhead Darter, is rare throughout its range and endangered in Kentucky. One population in Kentucky occurs in Kinniconick Creek, Lewis County, and prior to this study was known from only a few specimens, mostly collected in 1981. In summer and early fall of 2007 and 2008, 55 reaches, spanning 54 stream km of Kinniconick Creek, were surveyed by snorkeling, electrofishing, or seining for P. macrocephala. We encountered 104 individuals of P. macrocephala in a 50 stream km segment from just below the town of Kinniconick to the town of Garrison. Fifteen of the 55 sampled reaches contained P. macrocephala. Most individuals were encountered in a middle section between the confluences of Laurel Fork and Town Branch; this area also contained many young-of-the-year, indicating successful reproduction and recruitment. Although we judge this species to be rare to uncommon in most of Kinniconick Creek, it is locally common in the middle section, and the population seems to be stable and perhaps the most robust in the state. We conservatively estimate a total population of 2000-5000 in the stream. Because this population appears to be migratory, and exhibits source-sink dynamics, it is susceptible to anthropogenic barriers (e.g., culvert crossings) that prevent movements.