US gives endangered status to Tennessee freshwater fish

Barrens topminnows are small, colorful fish that live only in a few springs and creeks in...
Barrens topminnows are small, colorful fish that live only in a few springs and creeks in central Tennessee. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed listing the fish as endangered. Photo by Emily Granstaff, USFWS.(WVLT)
Published: Oct. 21, 2019 at 4:37 PM EDT
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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has granted endangered species status to a Tennessee freshwater fish.

The Center for Biological Diversity says the nearly extinct Barrens topminnow was proposed for endangered species protection four decades ago. The fish is found only in central Tennessee in clear, spring-fed Barrens Plateau streams.

The group says the species used to be found at 18 sites, but now exists at five, with none in good condition. Climate change-induced drought, loss of riparian vegetation to pasture and predation by non-native mosquitofish are threats.

Captive-breeding populations are being held at Conservation Fisheries Inc. in Knoxville and the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute in Chattanooga.

The flashy colored fish grows to 4 inches long and swims near the water's surface, preying on mosquito larvae and other insects.

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