Citation
Baseline aquatic faunal survey of Avon Park Force Range, Florida: fishes, mollusks, and crayfishes

Material Information

Title:
Baseline aquatic faunal survey of Avon Park Force Range, Florida: fishes, mollusks, and crayfishes
Series Title:
Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Research Work Order 157
Alternate Title:
RWO 157
Creator:
Nico, Leo G.
Williams, James D.
Blalock-Herod, Holly N.
Florida Caribbean Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey ( Contributor )
Affiliation:
University of Florida -- Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publisher:
Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Florida
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
University of Florida. ( LCSH )
Aquatic animals ( LCSH )
Crayfish ( LCSH )
Mollusks ( LCSH )
Biotic communities -- Florida ( LCSH )
Natural history -- Florida ( LCSH )
City of Kissimmee ( local )
Kissimmee River ( local )
Fish ( jstor )
Lakes ( jstor )
River basins ( jstor )
Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States of America -- Florida

Notes

Funding:
This collection includes items related to Florida’s environments, ecosystems, and species. It includes the subcollections of Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit project documents, the Sea Grant technical series, the Florida Geological Survey series, the Coastal Engineering Department series, the Howard T. Odum Center for Wetland technical reports, and other entities devoted to the study and preservation of Florida's natural resources.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida

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Nico, L. 2000.pdf

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Full Text







COPY FOR CO-OP UNIT
RWO-157











BASELINE AQUATIC FAUNAL SURVEY OF
AVON PARK AIR FORCE RANGE, FLORIDA:
Fishes, Mollusks, and Crayfishes



REPORT
PROJECT RWO-157
25 July 2000



by
Leo G. Nico, James D. Williams, and Holly N. Blalock-Herod

Florida Caribbean Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
7920 NW 71st Street
Gainesville, Florida 32653
(e-mail: Leo_Nico@usgs.gov)






REPORT

Submitted to:
US Air Force, Avon Park Air Force Range, Natural Resources Flight





Nico et al.25 July 2000


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:


This report presents results of the first systematic study of the diversity and

distribution of fishes and mussels in Avon Park Air Force Range (APR). We also

provide information on crayfishes and aquatic snails taken during our fish and mussel

sampling activities. Our surveys documented the presence of 46 species of fishes (43

native and 3 nonindigenous), 9 species of mussels (including 8 native and 1

nonindigenous species), 5 species of aquatic snails, and two crayfish species.

Most species found during our surveys are widespread in peninsular Florida and

relatively common in appropriate habitats in APR or elsewhere in the Kissimmee River

Basin. However, there are a few exceptions. One unionid mussel, the Florida Lance

(Eliptio waltoni), is listed as "Threatened" by a national panel of experts. We

encountered the Florida Lance in Arbuckle Creek. Unusual records of fishes for the

Kissimmee River Basin included the Ironcolor Shiner (Notropis chalybaeus) and the

Okefenokee Pygmy Sunfish (Elassoma okefenokee). Both species are known only from

a few sites in the Kissimmee River Basin. We collected Ironcolor Shiner at two sites in

Arbuckle Creek. We collected a single Okefenokee Pygmy Sunfish in Arbuckle Creek

(the only known record of that species in the Istokpoga Sub-basin). During our search for

historical records, we discovered museum specimens of the cyprinodontid fish

Cyprinodon variegatus taken from the Upper Kissimmee River Sub-basin in the late

1890's. We are comparing the Kissimmee specimens to other C. variegatus to determine

if they represent the inland form or subspecies known as Lake Eustis Pupfish

(Cyprinodon variegatus hubbsi). That small fish, listed as a Florida fish of "Special

Concern" by the Florida Committee on Rare and Endangered Plants and Animals,

currently is known only from a few water bodies in the Upper St. Johns River Basin.

Nonindigenous or foreign species found in APR waters include three fishes,

Brown Hoplo (Hoplosternum littorale), Walking Catfish (Clarias batrachus), and Blue





Nico et alJ25 July 2000


Tilapia (Oreochromis aureus); and one mollusk, the Asian Clam (Corbicula fluminea).

The Brown Hoplo is a recent invader to the Kissimmee River Basin. Blue Tilapia and

Walking Catfish have been in the Basin (and probably in APR) for well over a decade.

Another nonindigenous catfish, a sailfin catfish of the genus Pterygoplichthys, has not yet

been recorded from APR, but there are recent unpublished records from the Upper

Kissimmee River Sub-basin and unconfirmed reports of its presence in Lake

Okeechobee.

Based on our research activities, we have several recommendations. We

discourage ditching and grazing of cattle near streams and natural wetland habitats.

Grazing can increase nutrient load in streams and increase turbidity. High quality sites

representing these habitats should be fenced to exclude cattle. Ditching into marsh

habitat has been shown to have a detrimental effect on benthic organisms that serve as

important food for fishes. Special protection from cattle and from chemical runoff (e.g.,

herbicides) should be given to Arbuckle Creek. That system is the only large, natural

stream in the area and it serves as habitat for at least two fishes and a mussel species

considered rare or of limited distribution in peninsular Florida.

We also recommend periodic quantitative sampling of APR to better track the

distribution and population status of certain native species (i.e., Florida Lance, Ironcolor

Shiner, and Okefenokee Pygmy Sunfish). In addition, suitable habitat in selected

permanent lakes and larger depression marshes should be more completely sampled to

determine if there are remnant populations of Lake Eustis Pupfish present. Furthermore,

periodic quantitative sampling also is recommended to track the range expansion of

selected nonindigenous fishes (i.e., Hoplosterum and Pterygoplichthys) and to evaluate

their negative affects. Finally, we recommend that APR resource managers consult with

a range of experts prior to stocking of any non-native and native fishes into natural lakes

or streams in the APR. In all cases, appropriate experts (e.g., systematists) should be






Nico et al.25 July 2000


consulted to verify species identifications and to evaluate potential effects of

introductions before fish are released into open waters.





Nico et alJ25 July 2000


MISSION OBJECTIVES

The proposed project was deemed necessary to determine the possible presence of

rare aquatic species and development of data for managing the aquatic component of

ecosystem at the Avon Park Air Force Range (APR). The goal of this investigation was

to conduct an intensive aquatic survey and habitat analysis of fishes, mussels, snails, and

crayfishes to determine the possible presence of rare or listed species and development of

data for managing the aquatic component of ecosystem at the APR. Specific goals were:

(1) to qualitatively survey aquatic habitats on, and immediately adjacent, to APR for

fishes, mussels, snails, and crayfishes; and (2) create an electronic data base of the above

faunas which will be provided to resource managers at APR, and the Florida Natural

Heritage Program. Results of this survey are for the purpose of providing APR resource

managers with aquatic data to accomplish its ecosystem management mission.





Nico et alJ25 July 2000


BASELINE AQUATIC FAUNAL SURVEY OF
AVON PARK AIR FORCE RANGE, FLORIDA:
Fishes, Mollusks, and Crayfishes


FINAL REPORT

Table of Contents

Page

Executive Sum m ary .............................................................................................. i

M mission O bjectives............................................................................... ............... iv

Table of C contents ................................................................................................... v

List of Tables ........................................................................................................... vi

List of Figures ............................................................. ........ ............................ vi

A cknow ledgem ents ................................................................................................... vii

Introduction......................................................................................................... 1-1

The K issim m ee River Basin ....................................................................................2-1

Description of the Study Area ........................................................................... 3-1

M methods ...................................................................................................................4-1

Fishes: Historical Records and Previous Surveys.................................................... 5-1

Historical Records and previous surveys in and around APR...............................5-1

Historical Records and previous surveys in the Kissimmee Basin...................... 5-7

Fish Stocking in APR and the Kissimmee Basin........................................................6-1

Fishes: Summary of Species Richness and Occurrence in APR and the Basin.......... 7-1

Fish Species A ccounts.................. .......................................................................... 8-1

Bivalve Mollusks: Previous Records, Species Richness, and Occurrence................ 9-1

Bivalve Mollusks Species Accounts ........................................................................ 10-1

Aquatic Gastropods: Previous Records, Species Richness, and Occurrence ......... 11-1

Aquatic Gastropods Species Accounts....... ... .............................................................. 12-1





Nico et al/25 July 2000


Crayfishes: Previous Records, Species Richness, and Occurrence ......................... 13-1

Crayfishes Species Accounts................................................................................... 14-1

Species of Special Concern .............. ...................................................................... 15-1

Conclusions and Recommendations ........................................................................ 16-1

L literature C ited ..................................................................................................... 17-1

Appendix A. Annotated List of Fish Surveys and Collections in the Kissimmee Basin by

Sub-basin

Appendix B: Fish Distribution Maps

Appendix C: Aquatic Mollusk Distribution Maps

Appendix D: Crayfish Distribution Maps





Nico et al/25 July 2000


List of Tables


page


Table 7-1 The fishes of Avon Park Air Force Range (APR) and the 7-3
Kissimmee River Basin by major sub-basin.

Table 9-1 The unionid mussels and other bivalve mollusks of Avon Park
Air Force Range (APR) and the Kissimmee River Basin by major 9-3
sub-basin.

Table 11-1 The aquatic gastropods of Avon Park Air Force Range (APR) 11-5
_and the Kissimmee River Basin by major sub-basin.
Table 13-1 The crayfishes of Avon Park Air Force Range (APR) and the 13-2
Kissimmee River Basin by major sub-basin.



List of Figures

Figure 1-1 Map of the Florida peninsula showing the boundaries of the
Kissimmee River Basin and Avon Park Air Force Range. 1-3
Figure 2-1 Map of the Kissimmee River Basin showing the boundaries of the
three major sub-basins and the location of Avon Park Air Force 2-7
Range.

Figure 3-1 Map of Avon Park Air Force Range, Avon Park, Florida.showing 3-2
distribution of the major types of aquatic habitats.

Figure 4-1 Map showing fish sampling sites of present study. 4-6

Figure 4-2 Map showing mussel sampling sites of present study. 4-7

Figure 6-1 Map showing sites in APR where Channel Catfish have been 6-2
stocked.





Nico et al/25 July 2000


List of Tables


page


Table 7-1 The fishes of Avon Park Air Force Range (APR) and the 7-3
Kissimmee River Basin by major sub-basin.

Table 9-1 The unionid mussels and other bivalve mollusks of Avon Park
Air Force Range (APR) and the Kissimmee River Basin by major 9-3
sub-basin.

Table 11-1 The aquatic gastropods of Avon Park Air Force Range (APR) 11-5
_and the Kissimmee River Basin by major sub-basin.
Table 13-1 The crayfishes of Avon Park Air Force Range (APR) and the 13-2
Kissimmee River Basin by major sub-basin.



List of Figures

Figure 1-1 Map of the Florida peninsula showing the boundaries of the
Kissimmee River Basin and Avon Park Air Force Range. 1-3
Figure 2-1 Map of the Kissimmee River Basin showing the boundaries of the
three major sub-basins and the location of Avon Park Air Force 2-7
Range.

Figure 3-1 Map of Avon Park Air Force Range, Avon Park, Florida.showing 3-2
distribution of the major types of aquatic habitats.

Figure 4-1 Map showing fish sampling sites of present study. 4-6

Figure 4-2 Map showing mussel sampling sites of present study. 4-7

Figure 6-1 Map showing sites in APR where Channel Catfish have been 6-2
stocked.





Nico et al./25 July 2000


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This study was funded by the U.S. Air Force. We thank all the individuals of the

U.S. Air Force, Avon Park Air Force Range that provided assistance to us during our

investigations. In particular, we are grateful to Patrick Walsh, John Ebersbach, Robert

Progulske, Margaret Margosian, and Ann-Marie Holmes. For help with field sampling

we gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Jon Brookshire, Gary Hill, Tim Hogan, Ann-

Marie Holmes, Dan Johnson, Ricardo Lattimore, Gary Meffe, Sarah Mirabilio, Linda S.

Nico, Dave Reynolds, Kevin Schuck, William Smith-Vaniz, Johnna Thackston, Patrick

Walsh, and Douglas Weaver. We are particularly grateful to Robert H. Robins for

assisting in all aspects of fieldwork and for help in sorting and identifying fish

collections. Jason Evert assisted in analyzing data and with preparation of distribution

maps. Patrick Walsh provided us with specimens and information on fishes collected by

him and others in the region. For help with creation of base maps, we thank Margaret

Margosian of the U.S. Air Force, and Amy Benson of the U.S. Geological Survey. We

also acknowledge the contributions of several anglers, Roy Smith among others, for

retaining important fish voucher specimens.

Several researchers graciously shared their time and expertise in species

identifications. Carter R. Gilbert and Howard Jelks assisted in the identification of

selected small fishes. For identifications of all aquatic snails, we thank Kurt Auffenberg

(Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida) and Arthur Bogan (North

Carolina State Museum). For crayfish identifications, we thank Christopher Taylor

(Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign, Illinois), Richard Franz (Florida Museum

of Natural History), and John Cooper (North Carolina State Museum). A number of





Nico et alJ25 July 2000


researchers kindly provided us with their unpublished data. Richard Owen sent us copies

of field notes and provided us with collections small fishes taken during herpetological

surveys of the Range. For sharing results of their unpublished research on Kissimmee

Basin fishes, we are grateful to Frank Jordan (Loyola University, New Orleans), and

Michael Allen and his graduate student Kim Tugend (University of Florida). Lawrence

Glenn and Louis Toth of the South Florida Water Management District provided us with

copies of published and unpublished information on the Kissimmee Basin. Mr. Glenn

also shared unpublished data on Kissimmee River fishes. Gary Warren of the Florida

Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission loaned us state reports and other documents

containing information on Kissimmee River fishes and various aquatic invertebrates.

Mark V. Hoyer of the University of Florida kindly provided us with information on

Florida lakes and their fishes. For detailed reports and records on fish stockings, we

thank Charles C. Starling of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and

his co-workers at the Richloam Fish Hatchery. Carolyn Kendrick, Thomas Champeau,

and Phil Chapman of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission also

provided information on fish stockings. Robert Rutter of the Florida Department of

Environmental Protection kindly gave us copies of his reports on macroinverbrates.

Robert Hujik, Patrick Pence, and Don Fox of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation

Commission also provided information. We also thank James Milleson, formerly with

the South Florida Water Management District, for responding to questions concerning his

work in the Kissimmee River Basin.

The following curators, collection managers, and museum technicians generously

replied to our queries regarding holdings in their collections: Robert H. Robins and





Nico et al.25 July 2000


BASELINE AQUATIC FAUNAL SURVEY OF
AVON PARK AIR FORCE RANGE, FLORIDA:
Fishes, Mollusks, and Crayfishes


INTRODUCTION


Avon Park Air Force Range (APR) is a federal military reservation occupying

43,142 hectares (106,074 acres) of Polk and Highlands counties, Florida (Figure 1-1).

During the past decade, the natural resources staff of APR has been developing an

integrated natural resources management plan. The general objectives of the plan are

multiple, but primarily are to support the Air Force's mission through responsible

stewardship of the resources by managing for multiple uses, promoting biodiversity, and

management of the range for multiple uses. Detailed inventory of the animals and plants

found on APR will greatly enhance the ability of resource managers to accomplish the

goals of an integrated natural resources management plan.

APR is located in the southern section of central Florida within the Kissimmee

River Basin (Figure 1-1). A spur of the Lake Wales Ridge divides the drainage of APR

into western and eastern halves. Waters on the east side of the range are part of the

Lower Kissimmee River Sub-basin; waters on the west side of the range form part of the

Lake Istokpoga Sub-basin. The Kissimmee River forms part of its eastern border and

Lake Arbuckle and Arbuckle Creek are on the APR's west border. In addition, there are

numerous wetland areas, including extensive marshes, scattered small permanent and

ephemeral streams, and several natural lakes. Terrestrial habitats include cypress

bottoms, pine forests and plantations, oak hammocks, and sand pine/oak scrub. In

general, the aquatic fauna in central Florida is among the most poorly known in the state.

As a result, there is a shortage of detailed information needed to manage watersheds for





Nico et alJ25 July 2000


the maintenance of diversity of game and nongame fishes, including any rare or listed

species (i.e., species of special concern).

In the formulation of watershed conservation and management plans any rare or

listed species in the range are given high priority. To properly address the conservation

and recovery of any rare or listed species require detailed habitat and distribution data.

Our aquatic faunal survey was deemed necessary to determine the possible presence of

rare aquatic species and development of data for managing the aquatic component of the

APR ecosystem. The goal of this investigation was to conduct an intensive aquatic

survey and habitat analysis of fishes, mussels, snails, and crayfishes to determine the

possible presence of rare or listed species and development of data for managing the

aquatic component of ecosystem at the APR. Specific goals were: (1) to qualitatively

survey aquatic habitats on, and immediately adjacent, to APR for fishes, mussels, aquatic

snails, and crayfishes; and (2) create an electronic data base of the above faunas which

will be provided to resource managers at APR, and the Florida Natural Heritage Program.

Results of this survey are for the purpose of providing APR resource managers with

aquatic data to accomplish its ecosystem management mission.
























































0 50

KILOMETERS


.. .. .... -
-r0 -

11L.



I-1
,, -i. : .


-1 is





Florida, ----
U.S.A. o

Figure 1-1. Map of the Florida peninsula showing the boundaries of the Kissimmee
River Basin and Avon Park Air Force Range.


ft.-





Nico et alJ25 July 2000


THE KISSIMMEE RIVER BASIN


The Kissimmee River Basin is located in the central part of peninsular Florida just

south of Orlando (Figure 1-1). The entire basin drains an area about 7,800 km2

(approximately 3,000 mi2) (FGFWFC 1957:3, Florida Department of Natural Resources

1989, USCOE 1991:5, Toth et al. 1998). The river is the principal tributary to Lake

Okeechobee and is the only major river in peninsular Florida without direct outlet to the

ocean. The Kissimmee Basin occupies parts of seven Florida counties, including

Osceola, Okeechobee, Orange, Lake, Polk, Glades, and Highlands. The upper part of the

basin is in upland plains, a region known as the Osceola Plain, but near Lake Okeechobee

the basin consists of coastal lowlands known as the Okeechobee Plain (Fernald 1981,

Kushlan 1991). In the vicinity of Orlando, the basin is heavily urbanized but gradually

changes downstream to rangeland for cattle and cropland and then to wetland (Paulson et

al. 1993). According to Kushlan (1990), undulating topography within the Kissimmee

Valley has created many isolated swale marshes that blend into drier grasslands known as

the Kissimmee Prairie.

The Kissimmee River Basin is bounded on the north by the lakes of the Orlando

area, on the west by the Peace River basin, on the east by the upper St. Johns River Basin

and on the south by Lake Okeechobee. Similar to many other rivers in peninsular

Florida, the exact boundary of the basin is difficult to determine from maps and by visual

inspection because of the flat topography of much of the region. In fact, because of the

overall flat topography, adjacent basins (as well as sub-basins within the Kissimmee

Basin) are frequently connected hydrologically during high water cycles and flood

events. Some of these connections are by way of natural marshes and swamps, however,

other connection exist because of the creation of artificial ditches and canals. In contrast,

a number of small lakes within the Kissimmee Basin boundary are considered to be





Nico et alJ25 July 2000


isolated water bodies that have no outflow streams or drainage. Nevertheless, all or most

of these water bodies likely form temporary connections with adjacent areas within the

Kissimmee Basin on occasion (i.e., during extreme flood events).

According to FGFWFC (1957), the historic headwaters of the Kissimmee River

was Lake Kissimmee. Nevertheless, Lake Kissimmee receives water from a wide range

of large and small lakes and it is likely that many of these natural water bodies in the

upper part of the basin were connected by small natural channels during historic times,

particularly during high water periods. As mentioned, the channel from Lake Kissimmee

to Lake Okeechobee is the main-stem Kissimmee River. In addition, recent maps also

give the name Kissimmee River to the meandering waterway draining Lake Hatchineha

to Lake Kissimmee (that particular reach has been modified with the creation of Canal C-

37). Much of the Kissimmee Basin is part of the Kissimmee marsh complex, a complex

that also includes Lake Istokpoga-Indian Prairie and Fisheating Creek (Kushlan 1990).

Major springs are noticeably absent from the basin.

Although our focus is on the Kissimmee River Basin, the Kissimmee Basin

actually is part of a much larger and complex drainage unit, the 77,000- km2 (about

29,700 mi2) Kissimmee-Okeechobee-Everglades system (Kushlan 1991, Toth et al.

1997). The entire area is sometimes referred to as the Greater Everglades Ecosystem or

Greater Everglades Basin. Prior to drainage and the installation of water control

structures, the entire system was connected hydrologically. Previously the unregulated

Kissimmee River discharged freely into Lake Okeechobee, and, historically, during wet

cycles the lake would overflow its south bank, providing additional flow of fresh water to

the Everglades (Light and Dineen 1994).

Background information on the physical environment, hydrology, and water

quality of the Kissimmee Basin or the Kissimmee River is available in Bass (1983), Bass

and Cox (1985), Florida Department of Natural Resources (1989), Kushlan (1991), the

USCOE (1991), and Toth (1995). In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency





Nico et al./25 July 2000


provides a profile of the basin on their web site:

http://www.epa.gov/surf3/hucs/03090101/. Under the U.S. Geological Survey's

hydrologic unit code (HUC) system, the cataloguing unit code for the Kissimmee River

Basin is 03090101. Data from U.S. Geological Survey streamflow stations for the

Kissimmee Basin are available on the worldwide web at: http://water.usgs.gov/cgi-

bin/realsta.pl?huc=03090101 (also see http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis-

w/US/search.components/textsearch.cgi?mode=seach&huc=03090101).

For analytical purposes, the Kissimmee River Basin may be divided into three

rather distinct sub-basins (Figure 2-1): 1) the Lower Kissimmee Sub-basin, 2) the Upper

Kissimmee Sub-basin, and 3) the Lake Istokpoga Sub-basin. The Lower Kissimmee Sub-

basin has an estimated area of 1,772 km2 (684 mi2) and extends from the southern outlet

of Lake Kissimmee to Lake Okeechobee (Scarlatos et al. 1990). The Upper Kissimmee

Sub-basin is the largest of the three sub-basins, covering an area of approximately 4,150

km2 (1,600 mi2) and includes all water bodies from Lake Kissimmee upstream (mainly

the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes) (Scarlatos et al. 1990, Toth et al. 1997). The third part of

the Kissimmee River Basin includes Lake Istokpoga and its tributary streams and lakes.

The Lake Istokpoga Sub-basin has an estimated area of 1611 km2 (622 mi2) (USCOE

1991:5). Different figures for surface area have been reported in the literature for the

entire basin and also for the different sub-basins. For instance, the FGFWFC (1957) and

USCOE (1991) has the Lower Kissimmee Sub-basin as 1,963 km2 (758 mi2) and the

Upper Kissimmee Sub-basin as 4,229 km2 (1,633 mi2). Apparently because of changes to
its drainage pattern as a result of manmade canals, Lake Istokpoga often is not included

as part of the recent Kissimmee River Basin (e.g., Scalottos et al. 1990, USCOE 1991,

Koebel 1996).








( r--- ---* / Nico/vers. 25 J
I -
Orange Co. -,, '


0 4 \ \.

1 I \ X1
SILake
Lake C. Orange Co. a. .. Orange Co.
Polk Co. Osceola Co. ..... Osceola Co. I
E EastLake
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i, Lake Aligator
'o p / ". i
~\ .---1 .^Lke
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S ,,- I UPPER
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Polk Co. Oola Co
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--K, t S-65c r i{ LOWER
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SLake
SOkeechobee



re 2-1. Map of Kissimmee River Basin showing the three major sub-basins
the location of Avon Park Air Force Range.


uly 2000


Figu
and





Nico et alJ25 July 2000


THE LOWER KISSIMME SUB-BASIN

The Lower Sub-basin includes the Kissimmee River from its beginning at the southern

end of Lake Kissimmee to its mouth on the north side of Lake Okeechobee. It includes

portions of Glades, Okeechobee, Highlands, Polk, and Osceola counties. The historic

Kissimmee River was a highly meandering stream, about 166-km (267-mi) long, within a

1.5- to 3-km wide floodplain. In addition, there are more than 20 lateral tributary sloughs

(Toth 1996). Because of its many meanders, early boatmen commonly referred to the

Kissimmee as a long and crooked river (Will 1965). The river averaged only about 1.2 m

deep and flows were highly variable (Kushlan 1991, Toth 1995). Channelization work,

between 1962 and 1971, involved cutting through the river/floodplain system and

reducing the Kissimmee River main channel to a 90-km (56-mi) long box-cut canal 9

meters deep and 64 to 105 meters wide (Toth et al. 1993, 1997). The remaining 70-km or

so of natural meandering river were converted either into isolated oxbows or side-

channels (often referred to as remnant river channels) with either one or both ends

connected to the main canal. The artificial Kissimmee River Canal is known as C-38

Canal or simply C-38. As part of construction, the canal was divided into five reservoir-

like impoundments, called pools (i.e., Pools A, B, C, D, and E) separated by a series of

six water control structures (i.e., gated spillways with locks for boat passage) that

regulate water levels and flow in each pool. According to Bass (1983), the river has a

gradient of 0.07 meters per km and an average discharge volume of 62 m3/s (but see

Kushlan 1991). In an effort to reverse negative environmental effects that resulted from

canal construction, portions of the Kissimmee River Canal are in various stages of

restoration under a project known as the Kissimmee River Restoration Project (Toth et al.





Nico et alJ25 July 2000


1993, 1997, Toth 1995). An earlier accepted plan was to consist of filling a 46-km length

of the canal and diverting discharge to historical channels and floodplains. The

reconstruction of the Kissimmee River began in 1994 (Toth et al. 1998). However,

apparently because of cost constraints, that plan has been modified and somewhat scale-

backed. According to L. Toth (pers. comm., 2000), the current restoration project

includes the removal of two of the dam-like water control structures along the canal. One

of the dams was removed with explosives in early summer 2000. The South Florida

Water Management web site (http: www.sfwmd.gov/org/erd/krr/index.html) give a

description of the restoration project and other project related information.




THE UPPER KISSIMMEE SUB-BASIN

The northern part of the Kissimmee River Basin includes several moderately-

sized streams and an extensive network of at least 26 natural freshwater lakes, known as

the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, ranging in size from a few acres to 144 km2 (55.5 mi2)

(Toth et al. 1997). The Upper Sub-basin includes portions of Orange, Osceola, and Polk

counties. A series of channels excavated in the 1880's and later enlarged connect the

larger lakes in the Upper Sub-basin (USCOE 1991). Many of these interconnecting

canals have water control structures. In addition to Lake Kissimmee, major lakes in the

Upper Kissimmee include Cypress, Jackson, Hatchineha, Marian, Marion, Pierce,

Rosalie, Russell, Tiger, Tohopekaliga, Weohyakapka, and ten or more lakes in what is

known as the Alligator Lake Chain, including Alligator, Brick, Center, Coon, East Lake

Tohopekaliga, Gentry, Hart, Lizzie, Mary Jane, and Trout (Moyer et al. 1985a) (and

apparently others, for instance lakes Myrtle, Joel, and Preston). Major streams in the

Upper Sub-basin include Reedy Creek, Shingle Creek, Boggy Creek, and Lake Marion








I r. n / Nico/vers. 25 July 2000
Orange Co ,
LaKe \
Co. 3'


Lake dC. j Orange Co. .. Orange .
-- - - - - - - -
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I 1 Tohopelaliga Lake
SI
: ". I r'-- i
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\:" Q- \Kissimmee
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ISTOKPOGA \ ". .-..' \",,ok ^. SUB-BASIN






sub-basins and the location of Avon Park Air Force Range.
SUB-BASIN \ %^ !, .I I \ /


\ySj, 0,] I \ -- \ \? C -S
\ (o / \ f \



/,x~ Lake
....... \ J Okeechobee


Figure 2-1. Map of the Kissimmee River Basin showing the the boudariesof the three major
sub-basins and the location of Avon Park Air Force Range.





Nico et al/25 July 2000


Creek. The Upper Sub-basin is bounded on the south by State Road 60 where the basin's

largest lake, Lake Kissimmee, discharges into the Kissimmee River (USCOE 1991).



THE LAKE ISTOKPOGA SUB-BASIN

The Lake Istokpoga Sub-basin covers an area estimated to be somewhere between 1611

and 1684 km2 (622 and 650 mi2) in Highlands and southern Polk counties (FGFWFC

1957, Milleson 1978, USCOE 1991). According to Milleson (1978), the Istokpoga Sub-

basin originates on the Highlands Ridge in the vicinity of Lake Clinch to the north and

Lake Annie to the south. More than forty lakes are located within the Sub-basin and

many of these are connected by natural streams or excavated channels and canals. At

least ten lakes are considered isolated (e.g., Lake Clinch). Lake Istokpoga is 11,207 ha

(27,692 acres). According to Kushlan (1990), the lake is part of the Kissimmee marsh

complex and was once covered by shallow marsh, embedded with numerous deeper

marshes. Other lakes in the Istokpoga Sub-basin greater than 1000 hectares (about 2500

acres) surface area include Jackson, June-in-Winter, and Placid (formerly Lake Childs) in

Highlands County, and Arbuckle and Reedy in Polk County. Major streams in the

Istokpoga drainage include Reedy Creek, Arbuckle Creek (and its main tributaries

Bonnet, Carter, and Morgan Hole creeks), and Josephine Creek. Although historically a

part of the Kissimmee River Basin, Lake Istokpoga and its drainages now provides only a

portion of their former flows to the Kissimmee River (USCOE 1991). Until the late

1940's the only surface water outlet from Lake Istokpoga was Istokpoga Creek, a natural

lowland stream that flowed east to the Kissimmee River. Historically, during high water

periods the Lake Istokpoga overflowed its southern banks and drained towards the

southeast. To control flooding and provide agricultural irrigation, a canal parallel to the

creek (Istokpoga Canal) with a water control structure (S-67) was constructed in 1949. In

1962, an additional canal system (C-41A) and several water control structures were

installed on the southeast shore. As a result, major regulatory releases from Lake





Nico et al.25 July 2000


Istokpoga now are controlled by water control structure S-68 with water flow to Lake

Okeechobee via C-41A, Indian Prairie Canal, and Hamey Pond Canal. Canal C-41A

flows into the lower Kissimmee Canal; however, Indian Prairie and Harney Pond canals

discharge directly into Lake Okeechobee (Milleson 1978, USCOE 1991, Moxley et al.

1993).





Nico et alJ25 July 2000


DESCRIPTION OF STUDY AREA


Avon Park Air Force Range (APR) is a federal military reservation occupying

43,142 hectares (106,074 acres) of Polk and Highlands counties, Florida. It is located in

the southern section of central Florida and is completely within the Kissimmee River

Basin (Figures 1-1 & 2-1). APR is bounded on the east by the meandering main channel

of the old Kissimmee River (as a result, some APR properties are on the east side of the

Kissimmee Canal) (Figure 3-2). APR is bounded on the west by Lake Arbuckle and

Arbuckle Creek. Privately owned lands used extensively for cattle ranching bound APR

on the north and south. Cattle ranging is also the main land use to the east and west of

APR. A large sandy ridge known as the Bombing Range Ridge divides the drainage of

APR into western and eastern halves (White 1970, Schiffer 1998). Waters draining the

east side of the APR ridge are part of the Lower Kissimmee River Sub-basin; waters

draining the west side of the ridge form part of the Lake Istokpoga Sub-basin drainage

network. The Bombing Range Ridge extends north and south of APR boundaries,

sloping away to the Osceola Plain in the north and east and to the Okeechobee Plain in

the south (White 1970). In addition to the Kissimmee River and Arbuckle lake and

creek, there are numerous wetland areas in APR, including extensive marshes, swamps, a

variety of small permanent and ephemeral streams, and several natural lakes. Terrestrial

habitats in APR include cypress bottoms, pine forests and plantations, oak hammocks,

and sand pine/oak scrub. Elevations in APR range from about 12 meters (40 feet) along

the Kissimmee River to 44.5 meters (146 feet) above mean sea level (msl) at the crest of

the Bombing Range Ridge (Franz et al. 1998). Relying only on topographic maps, we

could not determine the outflow of some of the natural water bodies in APR, including a

few of the natural shallow lakes or depression marshes on the Bombing Range Ridge.

















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Nico et alJ25 July 2000


In recent years, the Air Force has had many of the biological communities of APR

mapped and put the resulting information into digitized form. As part of that work,

habitats were separated into at least 24 different classes. Unfortunately, the classification

scheme focuses mainly on plant communities, mostly terrestrial types, and it is less

detailed and useful for those interested in aquatic habitats. For the most part, deepwater

habitats are simply listed in the category "water." Of the 24 plant community types

recognized, a few are wetland habitats used by fishes or other aquatic fauna. These

wetland habitats are identified as cypress, hardwood swamp, marsh, pine swamp, pond,

sawgrass, and possibly wet flatwoods and forested wet flatwoods (Figure 3-1). We

follow the system to very limited extent.

Major water bodies and other principal aquatic habitats in APR are discussed

below:



POOL B OF THE KISSIMMEE RIVER CANAL

The eastern border of the Avon Park Bombing Range is formed by Pool B of the

Kissimmee River Canal (C-38) and some of its remnant river channels. Pool B, one of

five pools on the Kissimmee River Canal, is a 19.5-km (12 mi.) long reach extending

from water control structure S-65A (about 1.7 km upstream of the Range) to water

control structure S-65B (about 4.5 km downstream from the Range). It is the second pool

southward from Lake Kissimmee. According to Bull et al. (1991), the Pool B canal

section has a water surface elevation of 12.2 meters (NGVD), average width of 48.8 m,

average depth of 9 m, and total surface area of 95.1 ha (235 acres). The Pool B section

has 13 remnant river channels, their total length is 37.2 km. The average width of the

remnant channels is 15.2 m, average depth is 1.2 m, and the total surface area is 56.7 ha

(140 acres). Most, or portions of, several of these remnant channels are within Range

boundaries.





Nico et al/25 July 2000


LAKE ARBUCKLE

Lake Arbuckle, situated on the northwest border of APR, covers an area of about 1,549

hectares (3,828 acres) or 112 km2 (43.7 mi2) (Milleson 1978). It is the largest lake

associated with APR. The major surface waters flowing into the lake are Reedy Creek

and Blue Jordan Swamp. Well outside APR lands, Reedy Creek flows from Reedy Lake

into the northwest corer of Lake Arbuckle. Blue Jordan Swamp is on the north and

northeast portion of Lake Arbuckle (part of the swamp is within the northeast comer of

APR). The only surface water outlet of Lake Arbuckle is Arbuckle Creek on the south

side, which has no water control structure. Water levels in the lake are unregulated and

are dependent on inflows and the capacity of Arbuckle Creek to drain off excess water.

Milleson (1978) stated that lake stage data have been recorded daily for Lake Arbuckle

since December 1941 and have been published by the US Geological Survey since

October 1960. However, the water gage station is no longer operational. According to

Milleson (1978), the maximum recorded stage of 58.3 feet msl occurred in September

1948, however, Milleson noted that local residents suspect a maximum stage of 58.7 feet

msl in 1926 and 1928. During the mid-1970s, Milleson (1978) studied the limnology of

the lake and provided details on selected physical, chemical, and biological parameters.

Lake Arbuckle is at the head of Arbuckle Creek, about 24 km (17 mi.) north of Lake

Istokpoga. The lake is dark colored and shallow, with average depth of about 7 feet (48-

ft msl). The deepest part of the lake was determined to be about 11 feet (44-ft msl).

Milleson (1978:98) classified Lake Arbuckle as being between meso-eutrophic and

dystrophic.


NAMED AND UNNAMED SMALL STREAMS

Principal streams on the western side (Istokpoga Sub-basin) of APR include Arbuckle

Creek, Morgan Hole Creek and its tributary Tomlin Gulley, and Willingham Branch

Creek. The only named stream in the eastern side (Lower Kissimmee Sub-basin) of APR





Nico et alJ25 July 2000


is Gum Branch. Arbuckle Creek is the largest natural stream in APR and is permanent.

Most of the other streams have fairly low flow and during parts of the year there is no

flow, particularly in their middle and upper reaches. In addition to the named streams,

there are a number of small unnamed streams throughout APR, all ephemeral. During the

low-water period portions of many of the small waterways are either completely dry or

survive only as a series of small, shallow, isolated pools.


SMALL NATURAL LAKES

Named natural lakes in APR include Little Lake and Submarine Lake, two small lakes on

the Bombing Range Ridge, and Fence-line Lake on the north boundary of APR. In

addition, there are a number of shallow natural water bodies (some of these are more

appropriately classified as depression marshes).


ARTIFICIAL WATER BODIES

There are a wide range of artificial water bodies throughout APR, mostly borrow pits,

cattle ponds, and shallow roadside ditches and pools associated with culverts. Tomlin

Hammock Lake is an artificial pond located east of Van Eeghan Road in the south-central

part of APR. In some areas of APR, mostly in and around Alpha Range, there are many

small bomb craters, less than 10-m wide and about 2 meters deep, that permanently hold

water. In addition, APR has a number of excavated ditches and small canals (e.g., Rim

Canal).


SWAMPS

There are a number of forested wetlands in APR that serve as habitat for fishes and other

aquatic species. The main swamp habitats include Blue Jordan Swamp, Bill's Bay

Long Cypress Slash, and Deadins Pine Swamp. Blue Jordan Swamp is a large hardwood

swamp. Only a portion of the swamp is in the APR boundary. Based on available maps,





Nico et alJ25 July 2000


Blue Jordan Swamp extends far northward from the northwest corer of APR and

apparently forms at least an occasional shallow water connection between Lake Arbuckle

in the Istokpoga Sub-basin and Lake Weohyakapka in the Upper Kissimmee Sub-basin.

We could not determine the direction of surface water flow for the entire swamp,

although it is likely that the southern portion of the swamp drains into Arbuckle Lake.

The other named swamps are completely within APR boundaries. Bill's Bay is located in

the east-central part of APR in the Lower Kissimmee Sub-basin. During the recent plant

community survey, Bill's Bay is classified mainly as a hardwood swamp. Deadins Pine

Swamp and Long Cypress Slash are both in the Istokpoga Sub-basin side of the APR.

Long Cypress Slash is a cypress swamp. In the same sub-basin, large areas of hardwood

and cypress swamps also fringe portions of Lake Arbuckle, Arbuckle Creek, and

Arbuckle Marsh.


MARSHES

APR is part of the Kissimmee marsh complex (Kushlan 1990) and it contains diverse and

extensive marsh habitats. Large marshes in APR include Arbuckle Marsh on the western

side of APR and Tick Island Marsh and Kissimmee Marsh (including Hicks Slough)

located in the eastern half of APR. Under the APR plant community inventory

classification system, both Tick Island Marsh and Kissimmee Marsh are identified as

marsh community types. Plant community maps show Arbuckle Marsh to be a complex

mosaic with most of the western half identified as saw-grass (i.e., Cladium jamaicense)

and much of the eastern half as marsh community type. In addition to these large

marshes, there are a great number of smaller permanent and temporary marsh habitats

throughout the range. A somewhat unusual wetland habitat, a series of narrow seeps

exist in a low-lying area of the Bombing Range Ridge, just east of Alpha Range. These

seeps apparently are in the Lower Kissimmee Sub-basin.





Nico et alJ25 July 2000


METHODS



FISH SURVEYS

Sampling for fishes was carried out in and around ARP on an intermittent basis

between 19 January 1995 and 31 October 1997. In shallow-water areas, we sampled

fishes using various types of small seines (typically 6 x 10-ft dimensions with mesh sizes

of 1/8-inch, 1/4-inch, or 3/16-inch), long-handled dip nets (1/8-inch and 1/4-inch mesh

size), and backpack electric shockers. In deeper waters (i.e., Lake Arbuckle, Arbuckle

Creek, Kissimmee Canal and remnant meanders, Submarine and Little lakes), we relied

mostly on use of a boat electric shocker to capture fishes. Other gear used on occasion

included gill nets and small minnow traps. In most cases, sampling was done during

daylight hours and was qualitative rather than quantitative. Overall, we made a total of

79 collections at more than 60 different stations. During our study, we also were given

specimens of significance taken from ARP waters by local anglers using hook-and-line.

Several records are based on visual sightings or testimony of others noted in the text and

acknowledgements. For each collection station, we recorded geographical coordinates in

terms of both UTM units and latitude-longitude. The coordinates of most collection

stations were determined using a hand-held GPS unit, but the coordinate location of some

sites were determined using U.S. Geological Survey 7.5 minute topographic maps,

usually in combination with aerial photographs and other map sets. At selected sampling

stations we measured or recorded a series of physical and water chemistry characteristics,

usually width, depth ranges, substrate type, pH, conductivity, and temperature, and cover

type.





Nico et alJ25 July 2000


CRAFYFISH SAMPLING

Most crayfishes collected were taken incidental to fish sampling, typically taken with

seines and dip nets. We did not set traps or do night sampling. Voucher specimens from

our surveys have been deposited at the Illinois Natural History Survey, University of

Illinois, Champaign (INHS).



AQUATIC SNAIL SAMPLING

In most cases, aquatic snails were taken incidental to fish and mussel sampling. Common

and scientific names used in this report follow Turgeon et al. (1998). Spelling of

subspecies names follow Thompson (1984). Voucher specimens from our surveys have

been deposited at the North Carolina State Museum (NCSM).



MUSEUM RESEARCH

To determine the existence of past information on fishes of APR and the

Kissimmee River Basin, we contacted museum curators and used the worldwide web to

search museum fish database collections. Searches of museum databases were done on

key words, including names of drainages and main water bodies (e.g., Kissimmee,

Okeechobee, Istokpoga), relevant county names, and site names (e.g., Orlando). Overall,

we accessed and searched the databases of more than 30 museum fish collections

available on the web. For selected major collections without web access, and for

collections that had holdings of Kissimmee River Basin fishes, we contacted curators or

their staff and requested additional more detailed information. In several cases, the

identification of specimens catalogued were somewhat suspect and we obtained a number





Nico et al125 July 2000


of specimens on loan to make positive identification. Collection databases searched

included the following (those with holdings of fishes collected in the Kissimmee River

Basin are indicated with an asterisk*): American Museum of Natural History, New York

(AMNH)*, Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences (ANSP)*, Cornell University

Vertebrate Collections, Ithaca, New York (CU)*, Field Museum of Natural History,

Chicago (FMNH), Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS), Museum of Comparative

Anatomy, Harvard University (MCZ), Florida Museum of Natural History of the

University of Florida, Gainesville (UF)*, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan

(UMMZ)*, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington,

D.C. (USNM)*, Swedish Museum of Natural History (Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet) in

Stockholm, Sweden (NHRM and NRM)*, Texas Memorial Museum of the University of

Texas, Austin (TNHC), University of Kansas Natural History Museum (KU), Uppsala

University Museum of Zoology, Uppsala, Sweden (ZMUU)*, Auburn University Natural

History Museum (AUM), Tulane University Museum of Natural History, Belle Chasse,

Louisiana (TU)*, among others.



LITERATURE REVIEW AND OTHER SOURCES

An extensive search was made of primary literature and gray literature. The

published literature on fishes and other aquatic animals of the Kissimmee Basin is rather

slight. By far the most active group doing survey work in the Kissimmee Basin is the

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (formerly the Florida Game and

Fresh Water Fish Commission). Personnel from that agency have carried out a large

number of fish surveys, typically focusing on the larger lakes in the Upper Kissimmee





Nico et al./25 July 2000


Sub-basin, the Kissimmee River and Canal and associated remnant river meanders, and

Lake Istokpoga. In addition, has stocked fishes in many public and some private water

bodies in the Upper Kissimmee and Lake Istokpoga sub-basins. The majority of the

Commission's field survey results and stocking data have not been published and the

information typically exists in the form of gray literature, for instance, unpublished

annual reports, performance reports, or completion reports. Some information gathered

by the Commission is only available in the form of file reports or papers that are not

distributed widely, but can be accessed by visiting the appropriate center or office. A few

other state agencies also have been involved in investigations of fishes and other aquatic

animals in the basin. Most notably, these include the South Florida Water Management

District (previously known as the Central and South Florida Flood Control District) and

the state agency formerly known as the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation.

Federal agencies that have done aquatic survey work in the Kissimmee Basin include the

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey.











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Nico et al/25 July 2000


FISHES: HISTORICAL RECORDS AND PREVIOUS SURVEYS



HISTORICAL RECORDS AND PREVIOUS SURVEYS IN AVON PARK AIR FORCE

RANGE (APR)

We are aware of only a few other surveys or collections that included sites within

APR or waters along its borders. The current survey represents by far the most

comprehensive attempt to catalogue the biodiversity of fishes in the property. In

particular, information on the diversity, distribution, and abundance of fishes occurring in

small streams and interior wetland habitats, was essentially nonexistent prior to the

present study. Prior to the preservation of fishes collected during the present study, there

were no voucher specimens of fishes from the APR area deposited in museums except for

a few minor exceptions.

Florida State University Sampling Trip in APR: As a result of our search for historical

museum material, we discovered two lots of two species taken in 1962 from within APR.

The material, deposited at the Florida Museum of Natural History (University of Florida,

include two lots of fishes collected by a class from the Florida State University. Names

of the party members are unknown and we presume that the two lots are only a portion of

somewhat larger collections. Any other fishes likely collected along with the known

surviving material was either never preserved or subsequently lost. In any case, written

notes on the collections are scant, consisting only of jar labels with minimal information.

One of the two known sites sampled by the crew was identified as an area along the

Kissimmee River at the Fort Kissimmee water gage in the eastern part of the Range. The

only specimen from that collection in the UF holdings is an Inland Silverside

Labedesthes sicculus (field number ZFSU10338; catalogue number UF 10338). A





Nico et al/25 July 2000


FISHES: HISTORICAL RECORDS AND PREVIOUS SURVEYS



HISTORICAL RECORDS AND PREVIOUS SURVEYS IN AVON PARK AIR FORCE

RANGE (APR)

We are aware of only a few other surveys or collections that included sites within

APR or waters along its borders. The current survey represents by far the most

comprehensive attempt to catalogue the biodiversity of fishes in the property. In

particular, information on the diversity, distribution, and abundance of fishes occurring in

small streams and interior wetland habitats, was essentially nonexistent prior to the

present study. Prior to the preservation of fishes collected during the present study, there

were no voucher specimens of fishes from the APR area deposited in museums except for

a few minor exceptions.

Florida State University Sampling Trip in APR: As a result of our search for historical

museum material, we discovered two lots of two species taken in 1962 from within APR.

The material, deposited at the Florida Museum of Natural History (University of Florida,

include two lots of fishes collected by a class from the Florida State University. Names

of the party members are unknown and we presume that the two lots are only a portion of

somewhat larger collections. Any other fishes likely collected along with the known

surviving material was either never preserved or subsequently lost. In any case, written

notes on the collections are scant, consisting only of jar labels with minimal information.

One of the two known sites sampled by the crew was identified as an area along the

Kissimmee River at the Fort Kissimmee water gage in the eastern part of the Range. The

only specimen from that collection in the UF holdings is an Inland Silverside

Labedesthes sicculus (field number ZFSU10338; catalogue number UF 10338). A





Nico et al.25 July 2000


second site sampled by the class was described as being in Avon Park Bombing Range, at

a culvert by a washed-out bridge. The only fish preserved from that collection are two

specimens of Bluefin Killifish Lucania goodei (field number ZFSU 10339; catalogue

number UF 10339). The specimens from the above collections were originally part of the

Florida State University museum collection and the fish holdings from that museum were

transferred to the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville in the mid-1980s (C.

R. Gilbert, pers. comm. 1999).

South Florida Water Management District survey in Pool B near APR southeast border:

In August 1972, investigators from the Central and Southern Florida Flood Control

District (now the South Florida Water Management District), sampled a 0.2-ha area of an

oxboww" in Pool B using blocknets and rotenone. The site was reported as being located

mid-way between water control structures S-65A and S-65B (Milleson 1976). The exact

location of the oxbow is not given in the report, but J. Milleson (pers. comm., 2000)

stated that the oxbow mentioned his 1976 report is located on the east side of the

Kissimmee Canal, about 5 miles north of S-65B. More recently, Milleson pinpointed the

site on a map that we provided. To the best of his recollection, the site sampled (Sec. 36,

SE 1/4) is within the main reach of the large remnant river channel. That remnant

channel forms part of the APR southeast boundary. According to Milleson (1976), major

fishes taken in the sample included six centrarchids, two ictalurid catfishes, Florida Gar,

Lake Chubsucker, and Gizzard Shad. Names of smaller fishes collected were not

provided in the report. Millerson (pers. comm., 2000) noted that smaller nongame (i.e.,

forage-sized fishes) were not collected and enumerated from this rotenone sample. To

the best of his knowledge, he also informed us that no specimens from these sampled





Nico et al.25 July 2000


were retained and that many SFWMD preserved samples from the 1970s were discarded

around 1988.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) Surveys in Pool B:

During the 1980s and early 1990s FFWCC biologists included Pool B in their surveys of

Kissimmee River fishes. Pool B habitats sampled included the mainstem Kissimmee

River Canal as well as associated remnant river channels. For the most part, this work

was part of the Kissimmee River Restoration Project. Sampling results from these large-

scale surveys have not been published, but the data are available in a series of reports by

Wullschleger et al. (1990a; 1990b), Bull et al. (1991, 1994), and Furse and Davis (1996).

According to Bull et al. (1991), the FFWCC initiated the survey studies, which consisted

of quarterly fisheries surveys in Pools B and E, during 1984. Sampling of fish

communities in the two pools continued until June 1991. Between 1987 and 1989,

sampling of fishes also was done in remnant river runs scheduled for restoration. In Pool

B, Bull et al. (1991) sampled a total of 12 stations, three of the sites were located in the

main channel of the canal, 8 sites were located in remnant channels, and one site was in a

small tributary of a remnant channel. These researchers used a variety of sampling

techniques, including detonating cord, Wegener Rings, and electrofishing. In Pool B,

they documented the presence of 41 fish species. Two species found in Pool B were not

taken during our survey work, Longnose Gar Lepisosteus osseus and a single Atlantic

Needlefish Strongylura marina. Reference to capture of banded killifish Fundulus

cingulatus most likely represent Redface Killifish Fundulus rubrifrons. They did not

record several species found by us in APR (i.e., Coastal Shiner Notropis petersoni,

Pugnose Minnow Opsopoeodus emiliae, Pygmy Killifish Leptolucania ommata, and





Nico et al/25 July 2000


Blackbanded Darter Percina nigrofasciata). In total, Bull et al. (1991) documented the

presence of 45 fish species in the Kissimmee River Canal and its meander channels.

Additional species reported by Bull et al. from other parts of the Kissimmee drainage that

were not taken during our survey work included American Eel Anguilla rostrata,

Common Carp Cyprinus carpio, and Striped Mullet Muil cephalus. According to Bull et

al. (1991), and repeated in Trexler (1995), two freshwater species, the Blackbanded

Darter, and the Coastal Shiner, and one euryhaline species, the Tidewater Silverside

Menidia beryllina, have not been collected in the Kissimmee since channelization. Bull

et al. (1994) and Fuse and Davie (1996) provide information on later FFWCC fish

surveys in Pool B and elsewhere. The only known voucher specimen from the FFWCC

surveys in Pool B is a single specimen of Okefenokee Pygmy Sunfish Elassoma

okefenokee taken from Pine Island Slough in Pool B in 1994 (Bull et al. 1994; preserved

voucher, either UF 96451 [1] or 96452 [1]).

Joint South Florida Water Management District and Florida Fish and Wildlife

Conservation Commission (FFWCC) Fish Kill Survey in Pool B: In September 1988,

personnel from the South Florida Water Management District and from the FFWCC

documented a large fish kill (caused by low dissolved oxygen levels) that occurred in the

lower 7 miles of Pool B of the Kissimmee Canal (Toth et al. 1990a). The number of 16

species were recovered or observed (this included a single nonindigenous species). There

is no known preserved voucher material.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FFWCC) Surveys in APR:

Thomas Champeau of the FFWCC was involved in sampling several deepwater habitats

in the Range in March of 1993 and November of 1995. Sites included Little Lake,





Nico et alJ25 July 2000


Submarine Lake, Tomlin Lake, a borrow pit along Van Eeghan Road, and possibly others

sites. P. Walsh (APR, personal communication, 1998) indicated that representatives of

the Commission also may have sampled in the Range on previous occasions, but the APR

staff has no records of earlier visits. According to T. Champeau (FFWCC, pers. com.,

1998), the Commission has no separate file on APR and very little on the Kissimmee

River, Arbuckle Creek, or Avon Park lakes. We were informed that archive files for any

Commission surveys done in the region are in their Lakeland office. To date, we have

not been to their Lakeland office to search their files. In a letter dated 24 March 1993

from T. Champeau to P. Walsh, a brief summary of findings and recommendations are

given concerning recreational fishing ponds on the Range along with stocking

suggestions (copy of letter is provided as an appendix to this report). A brief summary of

the letter is as follows: (1) Little Lake is described as a small sinkhole lake that is

relatively infertile; however, it supports a fairly good sport fishery (largemouth bass and

bluegill). Forage fish included what was identified as Banded Topminnow Fundulus

cingulatus. Champeau also noted the presence of"redfin pickeral" (i.e., Grass Pickeral)

Esox americanus. (2) Submarine Lake, another sinkhole lake, also is categorized as

infertile and with good aquatic habitat. The site was reported as supporting a high

number of Lake Chubsucker Erimyzon sucetta. It was concluded that Largemouth Bass

in the site had been over harvested. As we discuss later in our fish species account

section, fish from the Kissimmee Basin previously identified as Fundulus cingulatus most

likely are Fundulus rubrifrons. We are unaware of the existence of any preserved

voucher material that may have resulted from these collections.





Nico et alJ25 July 2000


Owen/Franz Herpetological Survey: A herpetological survey was conducted in Avon

Park Air Force Range in 1996-1998 by researchers from the Florida Museum of Natural

History, Gainesville (Franz et al. 1998). During his sampling for amphibians in shallow

marshes and other shallow natural and artificial wetland habitats, Richard Owen secured

several collections of small species and juveniles of other and wrote detailed notes in his

field journal concerning the occurrence and habitats of fishes observed. All the fishes

found were common and widespread species. Nevertheless, and of particular importance,

Owen documented the occurrence of Walking Catfish Clarias batrachus at four sites,

including three marshes and one ditch (next to a hardwood swamp). These four sites had

not been sampled during our survey work. Owen deposited a series of voucher

specimens in the fish collection of the Florida Museum of Natural History. We have

examined all of the preserved material from these collections, but as of March 2000, that

material had not yet been fully sorted and catalogued.

Other Surveys that may have been in APR boundaries: During the period February 1978

to July 1981, personnel of the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission sampled

the main channel, pooled marshes, and remnant channels of the Kissimmee River (Perrin

et al. 1982). Location of sites sampled were not reported, but some of the sites may have

been in Pool B along the eastern border of APR. Results were based on use of otter trawl,

experimental gill nets, seine, and dipnet, and also on field observations. A total of 24 fish

species were reported, including two nonindigenous species. There is no known

preserved voucher material.





Nico et alJ25 July 2000


HISTORICAL RECORDS AND PREVIOUS SURVEYS IN THE KISSIMMEE BASIN

The following is a summary of fish faunal surveys carried out in the Kissimmee

River Basin. Additional details, by major sub-basin, are provided in Appendix A.


BEFORE 1900: Prior to 1900, and particularly during the late 1800s, a number of well-

known researchers were actively describing and documenting inland fishes found in

Florida and other parts of the southeastern United States (for a partial review see Bass

and Cox 1985). However, few scientists made any effort to collect or examine fishes

taken from the Kissimmee River Basin during that early period. Perhaps the first and

only reliable observations before 1900 on fishes inhabiting the basin were those by the

Swedish naturalist and scientist Einar Lonnberg (1865-1942). From fall 1892 to summer

1893, Professor L6nnberg traveled in Florida, including visits to parts of the upper

Kissimmee Basin where he made small collections of fishes at sites in and around

Orlando and the town of Kissimmee. In addition to his publishing of several other

articles on Florida and its wildlife, Linnberg (1894) documented many of his

observations of Florida fishes, including those made in the upper Kissimmee, in an 1894

paper published in English in a Swedish journal (see Lonnberg 1894). In addition to his

1894 paper, Ldnnberg's work on Florida fishes is particularly valuable because many of

the specimens that he collected and preserved still survive in two major museums in

Sweden.

In 1886, Angelo Heilprin, a scientist associated with the Philadelphia Academy of

Natural Sciences (ANSP), participated in an expedition through parts of Florida aboard

the schooner "Rambler." His journey included a trip up the Caloosahatchie River into

Lake Okeechobee. According to Heilprin (1887:51), during their six days on the lake he

and his party made a small collection of fishes "some distance out from the mouth of the

Kissimmee River" where they took "black-bass" (Micropterus salmoides) and what

Heilprin described as a new catfish species, Ictalurus okeechobeensis (a species later





Nico et alJ25 July 2000


determined to be invalid because of synonymy). Eschmeyer (1998:1234) and Gilbert

(1998:222) both erroneously give the type locality of Ictalurus okeechobeensis as the

Kissimmee River. However, in his 1887 publication, Heilprin makes no mention of

entering the Kissimmee and his fish collections were obviously in the lake itself and not

in the river mouth. Heilprin did describe his explorations of Taylor Creek in some detail.

We suspect part of the confusion surrounding Heilprin and the Kissimmee River resulted

from the locality data filed with the type specimens at the Philadelphia Academy in

which the collection locality accompanying preserved fish specimens is given in an

abbreviated fashion as "Lake Okeechobee, Kissimmee River".

In addition to the records of Linnberg, there are a few published accounts

providing anecdotal information on sport and commercially valuable fish found in the

Kissimmee Basin during the period before 1900. In a report for the U.S. Fish

Commission, Smiley (1985) included a short letter dated February 2, 1885, from a Mr. H.

R. Clarke who, while passing through the town of Kissimmee, noted that natives using

trawling tackle take "large-mouth bass" and "croppies" (some weighing up to 16 pounds)

from area lakes as well as down the river to Kissimmee Lake and "Okechobee" (and

elsewhere). Clarke was able to catch some of these same fishes by fly casting. Similarly,

Daug6 (1886, reprinted in Oppel and Meisel 1987) published a short article describing a

boat trip by a small group of tourists venturing from Kissimmee City into nearby lakes

during the 1880s. Daug6 briefly described the capture of what he called a "trout"

weighing about eleven pounds. We assume that Daug6's "trout" was actually a native

Largemouth Bass. Will (1965) provided information on early commercial fishermen that

worked Lake Okeechobee and parts of the Kissimmee River during the late 1800s and

early 1900s. Although he provides interesting details on people and places, very few

details are provided on fishes, mostly catfishes and bass. Will does give the common

names for a few of the food fishes and some of the names used apparently are of local

origin.





Nico et alJ25 July 2000


1900 TO 1950: During the period 1900-1950, a number of researchers passed through

the Kissimmee River basin and made small collections of fishes. The information from

this time period are based mainly on museum records. In the Lower Kissimmee Sub-

basin, fishes were collected by Leonard Giovannoli in 1931, C. J. Goodnight in 1940. In

the Upper Kissimmee Sub-basin, museum specimens survive from collections of Edgar

A. Mearns in 1901, F. Harper in 1917, O. C. Van Hyning in 1928, G. V. Harry and A. C.

Bauman in 1939, C. Hemphill, S. M. Brown, and H. Trapido in 1940, V. Walters and P.

Taleporos in 1945, and Ford, Parkes, Hilton, and Van Etten in 1949. In the Istokpoga

Sub-basin, the only known fish collections were made by J. E. Hill and H. L. Hill in

1943.

During the period 1948-1949, personnel from the Florida Game and Fresh Water

Fish Commission sampled fishes with haul seines (3-inch stretch mesh) in several lakes

and connecting canals in the upper Kissimmee River basin. Lakes sampled included

Lake Kissimmee and four other lakes (Lake Tohopekaliga, East Lake Tohopekaliga,

Lake Hatchineha, and Lake Cypress). Subsequently, they presented lists of species taken

during their surveys (FGFWFC 1957). Unfortunately, there are no known voucher

specimens.



1950 TO PRESENT: The last fifty years represent the most intensive sampling of the

Kissimmee Basin. There are a series of museum voucher specimens from this time

period, most of these the results of collections made by small groups of scientists (see

Appendix A). In addition, various state and federal agencies became involved in fish

sampling. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service conducted a fishing census along 90 miles

of the Kissimmee River in 1955-1956 (Miller 1990; USCOE 1991). Survey work in

1956 and 1957 by the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission provided baseline

data on fish populations in the lower Kissimmee River (FGFWFC 1957). Since that time,

there have been a number of investigations on fishes in various parts of the drainage and





Nico et alJ25 July 2000


of different focus and scope. As a result, the fish fauna of the basin, at least in terms of

kinds of species and their relative abundance, is fairly well known. Less is known about

the natural history and biology of the region's fishes.

Only a small fraction of the data gathered on fishes from surveys of the

Kissimmee River since the late 1940s have been published. Most information on the

distribution and abundance of Kissimmee River basin fishes only exists in the form of

unpublished reports or file documents (e.g., FGFWFC 1957, Yerger 1975, Perrin et al.

1982; Wullschleger et al. 1990a; 1990b; Bull et al. 1991, U.S. COE 1991). Much of the

pertinent gray literature is not widely available. Furthermore, some of the fish names

used in a number of unpublished documents on the Kissimmee River ichthyofauna are in

error or should be considered suspect. Uncertainty of identification is sometimes

unavoidable simply because it reflects changes in our knowledge of systematics and

taxonomy of certain fish groups. In other cases, researchers who were unfamiliar with

nongame fishes or juveniles sportfishes often lumped small specimens into higher

taxanomic categories, for instance, listing fishes as sunfishess" or "minnows" rather than

at the species level. It seems that few specimens captured during earlier sampling efforts

in the Kissimmee River basin were preserved and deposited in museum scientific

collections. Thus, any questions about fish species identifications may remain

unresolved.

As part of our effort to locate voucher material, searches were conducted at

several major museums that have large collections of fishes from the southeastern United

States. At least three museums contain collections of Kissimmee River basin fishes: the

Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville; Cornel University in Ithaca, New

York; and Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. For the most part, the museum

holdings include collections not referenced in earlier reports or publications on

Kissimmee River fishes. The South Florida Water Management District office in West


5-10





Nico et al/25 July 2000


Palm Beach, Florida, also harbors holdings of Kissimmee River fishes (J. L. Glenn, pers.

comm. 1999).

Following is a brief review of studies on fishes in the Kissimmee River basin,

with emphasis on fish faunal surveys and on sites in the vicinity of Avon Park Air Force

Range.



Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission survey of 1948-1949: The Florida

Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission sampled fishes and presented lists of species

taken from five large lakes and connecting canals in the upper Kissimmee River basin

during the period 1948-1949. All five lakes sampled are in Osceola County and these

included East Lake Tohopekaliga, Lake Tohopekaliga, Lake Cypress, Lake Hatchineha,

and Lake Kissimmee. Fishes were sampled with haul seines (although other methods

may have been employed as well). Results were presented in an unpublished report (see

FGFWFC 1957). In general, it was stated that the lakes supported a relatively high

gamefish population with black crappie being the most common game fish (FGFWFC

1957:9).



U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service census 1955-1956: SEE MILLER (1990:31-33; 39-41).

As of Oct 1999. we have the report by the USFWS (1958)-it evaluates the economics of

the fisheries in the Kissimmee River, but the main report does not list species.

Supposedly the FWS carried out a creel survey-but any related fisheries data was

included in an appendix (which we have yet to see). According to USCOE (1991:g-4),

the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in an unnamed 1958 report, provided information

based on a census of Kissimmee River fishes along 90 miles of the river. We have not

seen the 1958 report and do not know the methods used in the census. A table appearing

in FGFWFC (1957:13), with information on fishing pressure and economic values, may

have been part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service census work. Most likely, the 1958


5-11





Nico et a1.25 July 2000


report was produced in response to Congressional authorization of the Kissimmee River

portion of the Central and Southern Florida Project for flood control in 1954 (see USCOE

1991:15). Apparently in reference to the USFWS fish survey work, the USCOE (1991:9)

noted that in the mid-1950's, the river fishery produced about 81,000 pounds in the 90-

mile reach between the center of the current Pool A and the Government Cut at the lower

end of the river. In the estimate of the USCOES (1991), the rough fish (gar and bowfin)

to game fish ratio taken during the 1950s census is believed to have been about two-to-

one. It was also emphasized that the Kissimmee River was renowned for its largemouth

bass fishery. We have not located fish voucher specimens that may have resulted from

these surveys. Recently, as part of a library search, we came across reference to a 1958

report by the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife entitled "A detailed report of the

fish and wildlife resources in relation to the Corps of Engineers' plan of development,

Kissimmee River basin, Florida." We are attempting to obtain a copy.



Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission survey of 1956-1957: SEE MILLER

(1990). In 1956 and 1957, the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission surveyed

fish populations in two sites in the lower Kissimmee River: a naturally meandering reach

of the main channel known as Paradise Run; and a parallel canal, called Government Cut,

near the Kissimmee River confluence with Lake Okeechobee. Government Cut now

forms the lower part of the Kissimmee Canal main channel; the original meandering

channel, including Paradise Run, is now a remnant channel whose lower end is situated

about two miles upstream from Lake Okeechobee. The purpose of the 1956-1957 study

was to determine differences in fish communities between a naturally meandering reach

of the river and an artificially created canal. Fishes were sampled using a variety of

equipment, including minnow seines, traps, trawl, hoop nets, gill net, and poisons (i.e.,

rotenone). Additional samples were conducted in Chandler Slough, a natural marsh just

downstream of U.S. Route 98 bridge in Okeechobee County. That area was sampled to


5-12





Nico et al/25 July 2000


determine fish populations in what was considered a desirable marsh habitat. Results

from the Commission survey work are included in an unpublished report (Florida Game

and Fresh Water Fish Commission 1957). A total of 39 fish species, were found during

the 1956-1957 survey of the Kissimmee River ecosystem, and these are listed by Bull et

al. (1990) and in publications by both Miller (1990) and Toth (1993) (note: discrepancy

with gar and dollar sunfish). All were native species. We have not located fish voucher

specimens that may have resulted from these surveys.



Yerger Icthvological Survey 1974 (i.e.. FGFWFC Survey of 1975??): In 1974, Ralph

W. Yerger and crew sampled fishes using rotenone at eight stations in tributaries and

backwaters of the Kissimmee River and Lake Okeechobee for the purpose of describing

and characterizing faunal composition, diversity, organization, and affinities of the

ichthyofauna of these systems. Results of that study were presented in an unpublished

report (see Yerger 1975). The only site near the Avon Park Air Force Range was a

collection station in a ditched portion of Ice Cream Slough. The slough is a western

tributary of the Kissimmee River just north of the northeast side of the Range in Polk

County. Based on USGS topographical maps (7.5 minute series), several marshes and

small streams in the northeast portion of the range drain into Ice Cream Slough, the most

important being wetlands in Eight Mile Hammock area. Based on samples taken on 27

April and on 6 June 1974, Yerger reported 28 fish species from Ice Cream Slough. The

most abundant species in his samples were Notemigonus crysoleucas, Erimyzon sucetta,

Noturus gyrinus, Gambusia holbrooki (reported as G. affinis), Enneacanthus glorious,

Chaenobryttus gulosus, Lepomis marginatus, and Micropterus salmoides. The April

sample was carried out using a seine and dip net; the June sample method of sampling

involved rotenone and dip nets. All of the fishes that Yerger's party found were common

species in the area. Yerger recorded the capture of four fishes in the Kissimmee-

Okeechobee Basin not taken during our survey work. Three of these were from lower


5-13





Nico et al/25 July 2000


Taylor Creek (a tributary of Lake Okeechobee): a single specimen of the Atlantic

needlefish Strongylura marina, a single tidewater silverside Menidia beryllina, and a

single specimen of an unidentified mullet Mugil sp (possibly striped mullet Mugil

cephalus). He also reported the taking of ironcolor shiner Notropis chalybaeus from

stations in the middle and upper Shingle Creek, a tributary of the Kissimmee in Orange

County. Two N. chalybaeus specimens are deposited at the FLMNH (UF 72803).

Voucher specimens for 20 different species from Yerger's 1974 Ice Cream Slough

collections are deposited in the Florida Museum of Natural History.



Recent Surveys Associated with the Kissimmee River Restoration: As part of the

Kissimmee River Restoration Project, Wullschleger et al. (1990a; 1990b) and Bull et al.

(1991) reported results from fish population surveys in several reaches of the Kissimmee

River Canal during the period 1984 to 1991, including Pools B, C, D, E, and Paradise

Run. A few of the sites were the same as those sampled by the Florida Game and Fresh

Water Fish Commission during the 1950s (FGFWFC 1957). According to Bull et al.

(1991), the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission initiated these studies,

which consisted of quarterly fisheries surveys in Pools B and E, during 1984. In 1987 the

Division of Fisheries took over the Commission's monitoring responsibilities--sampling

of fish communities in the two pools continued until June 1991. Between 1987 and 1989,

fish communities in remnant river runs scheduled for restoration were also sampled. In

Pool B, Bull et al. sampled a total of 12 stations, three of the sites were located in the

main channel of the canal, 8 sites were located in remnant channels, and one site was in a

small tributary of a remnant channel. These researchers used a variety of sampling

techniques, including detonating cord, Wegener Rings, and electrofishing. In Pool B,

they documented the presence of 41 fish species. Two species found in Pool B were not

taken during our survey work, longnose gar Lepisosteus osseus and a single Atlantic

needlefish Strongylura marina. Reference to capture of banded killifish Fundulus


5-14





Nico et al.25 July 2000


cingulatus most likely represent redface killifish Fundulus rubrifrons. They did not

record several species found by us in APR (i.e., Coastal Shiner Notropis petersoni,

Pugnose Minnow Opsopoeodus emiliae, Pygmy Killifish Leptolucania ommata, and

Blackbanded Darter Percina nigrofasciata). In total, Bull et al. documented the presence

of 45 fish species in the Kissimmee River Canal and its meander channels. Additional

species reported by Bull et al. from other parts of the Kissimmee drainage that were not

taken during our survey work included American eel Anguilla rostrata, common carp

Cyprinus carpio, and striped mullet Mugil cephalus. According to Bull et al. (1991), and

repeated in Trexler (1995), two freshwater species, the blackbanded darter Percina

nigromaculata, and the coastal shiner Notropis petersoni, and one euryhaline species, the

tidewater silverside Menidia beryllina, have not been collected in the Kissimmee since

channelization. However, two of the three species were taken during our sampling work

within the Range. We have been unable to locate any voucher specimens associated with

this large-scale sampling effort. It should be noted that Perrin et al. (1982, also see

USCOE 1991:26) reported the loss of six indigenous fish species in the Kissimmee River

after channelization.



U.S. Geological Survey. South Florida NAWQA Study: As part of their Water-Quality

Assessment (NAWQA) program in south Florida, U.S. Geological Survey researchers

from the Florida-Caribbean Science Center sampled portions of the lower Kissimmee

River drainage. Selected sites were located in Pool E of the canal, about 30 km

downstream of the Range and Pool B. As part of that study, the first fish samples were

made with a boat shocker on 6 September 1995 in a remnant river channel as well as in a

reach of the main channel border about 8 km north of the Route 70 bridge in Highlands

County. During a three-year period 1996-1998, USGS researchers (at that time part of

the National Biological Service) carried out one-day sampling each Spring along the

main channel of the Kissimmee River Canal just upstream of water control structure S-


5-15





Nico et alJ25 July 2000


65E, about 3 km south of the Route 70 bridge, in Okeechobee County. Sampling was for

one day only and involved semi-quantitative and qualitative sampling with a small

electroshocker boat, as well as additional qualitative sampling using small nets and gill

nets. In total, the USGS researchers documented the presence of 34 fish species in the

Kissimmee River Canal and the remnant channel. A single species found during the

NAWQA study was not taken during our survey work in the Range, the bay anchovy

Anchoa mitchelli. It also was the first record of the species in the Kissimmee drainage.

Voucher specimens from the south Florida NAWQA surveys have been deposited at the

Florida Museum of Natural History (UF) and the North Carolina State Museum (NCSM).



Specimens from Early Collections Deposited in Museums:


Florida Museum of Natural History (University of Florida, Gainesville) (UF): As

a result of our search for historical museum material, we discovered two small collections

of fishes taken in 1962 from within the Range. The two samples were taken by a class

from the Florida State University. Names of the party members are unknown. One of

the sites sampled by the crew was an area along the Kissimmee River at the Fort

Kissimmee water gage in the eastern part of the Range. The only specimen from that

collection in the UF holdings is an inland silverside Labedesthes sicculus (field number

ZFSU10338; catalogue number UF 10338). A second site sampled by the class was

described as being in Avon Park Bombing Range, at a culvert by washed-out bridge. The

only fish preserved from that collection are two specimens of Lucania goodei (field

number ZFSU 10339; catalogue number UF 10339). The specimens from the above

collections were originally part of the Florida State University museum collection and the

fish holdings from that museum were transferred to the Florida Museum of Natural

History in Gainesville in the mid-1980s (C. R. Gilbert, pers. comm. 1999).


5-16





Nico et al.25 July 2000


Specimens from several other collections, from the 1960s and 1970s, also

deposited at UF. All are species native to Florida. In 1966, Camm C. Swift and Robert

W. Hastings sampled fishes in Arbuckle Creek downstream of the Range at the crossing

of US Hwy 98 about 2 miles upstream from its mouth at Lake Istokpoga in Highlands

County. The preserved material from that collection includes 11 species: one fundulid

(Fundulus chrysotus), two cyprinids (Notropis petersoni and Opsopoeodus emiliae), six

common centrarchids (Chaenobrvttus gulosus, Lepomis macrochirus, L. marginatus, L.

microlophus, L. punctatus, and Micropterus salmoides), and two percids (Etheostoma

fusiforme and Percina nigrofasciata) (field number CCS66-75; catalogue numbers UF

68837- 68846). In 1966, the two researchers also made a collection in the southern end

of Lake Kissimmee. Preserved material included 14 species. All preserved fish from that

collection are common species except for two Atlantic needlefish Strongylura marina

(field number CCS66-73; catalogue number UF 76745).

In 1979, a series of collections were made by Dannie A. Hensley and R. S. Dial

near the town of Avon Park, but the sampled sites fell outside Range boundaries. A

single sample was taken from Blue Jordan Swamp at the CR 630 crossing (about 3 miles

north of the Range's northwest boundary). Preserved specimens from that collection

consist of 12 species: Ameiurus natalis, Esox americanus, Fundulus rubrifrons, Gambusia

holbrooki (reported as G. affinis), Heterandria formosa, Poecilia latipinna, Labidesthes

sicculus, Chaenobryttus gulosus, Lepomis macrochirus, L. microlophus, L. punctatus,

and Etheostoma fusiforme (field number FAU79-38; catalogue numbers UF 32809-

32814 and UF 32820- 32827). Eight species were taken from Carter Creek (at SR 700A

crossing), a tributary of Arbuckle Creek just downstream of the Range): Gambusia

holbrooki, Labidesthes sicculus, Notropis petersoni, Elassoma evergladei, Lepomis

macrochirus, L. marginatus, L. punctatus, and Percina nigrofasciata (field number

FAU79-33; catalogue numbers UF 32792- 32799). Eleven species in the collections

were taken from Bonnet Creek (at CR 64 crossing), a tributary of Arbuckle Creek just


5-17





Nico et al.25 July 2000


west of the Range in Highlands County: Amia calva, Ameiurus natalis, Esox americanus,

, Erimyzon sucetta, Fundulus rubrifrons, Gambusia holbrooki, Elassoma evergladei

Chaenobrvttus gulosus, Lepomis marginatus, Lepomis punctatus, and Micropterus

salmoides (field number FAU79-36; catalogue numbers UF 34982- 34992). Hensley and

Dial also sampled a backwater area of the Kissimmee River near Lake Kissimmee, far

upstream of the Range (field number FAU79-39). Only one species from the above

collection was not taken during our survey work, the Atlantic needlefish Strongylura

marina. Additional museum voucher material exists for collections made in other parts of

the Kissimmee River basin and Lake Okeechobee.



Cornell University Vertebrate Collections (CUVC): Cornell University

Vertebrate Collections, Ithaca, New York (CUVC), has vouchers from a number of fish

collections made in Florida. Their museum staff provided us with results of a search of

their holdings for Highlands and Polk county. According to their records, several small

fish collections were taken in 1952 by the ichthyologists E. C. Raney, C. Richard Robins,

R. H. Backus, and R. W. Crawford from sites in the Kissimmee River basin. None of the

sites were within Range boundaries. The nearest site to the Range sampled by Raney's

group was in the town of Avon Park. According to museum records, on 23 March 1952

the researchers sampled the shore area of a lake described as being located at the south

end of the Avon Park business zone on the east side of US Highway 27 in Highlands

County. Preserved material included six species: Chaenobrvttus gulosus, Poecilia

latipinna, Fundulus seminolis, Gambusia holbrooki, Lucania oodei, and Lepomis

macrochirus (CU 24475-24480). There are several other collections in the Cornell

museum from sites within Highlands and Polk counties in the Kissimmee River basin.

These include additional collections in 1952 by Raney's party. There also is a collection

taken in March 1962 by N. R. Foster and party. However, none of the sites sampled were

near the Range and none were from the Arbuckle Creek drainage. Raney and party did


5-18





Nico et alJ25 July 2000


capture ironcolor shiner Notropis chalvbaeus from what was reported to be Josephine

Creek at outlet of Lake Steams (i.e., Lake June in Winter?) at a point four miles west of

U.S. Highway 27 on Sand Road, on 22 March 1952 (catalogue number CU 22095).

Josephine Creek is a tributary of Lake Istokpoga in Highlands County and the record of

ironcolor shiner is one of only a few known from the entire Kissimmee basin.



Tulane Museum of Natural History Fish Collection (TU): The Tulane Museum

of Natural History, New Orleans, Louisiana has vouchers from a single collection made

in the Kissimmee River basin. According to Tulane museum records, a small sample of

fishes was taken from the south shore area of Lake Pierce, Polk County, by J.M.

Barkuloo and crew on 20 January 1960. Lake Pierce is located approximately 13 miles

north-northwest of Avon Park Air Force Range. Preserved material from the lake

included 183 specimens representing 12 species (TU 22953-22964). The entire

collection consisted of native fishes, all common to central Florida. Enneacanthus

glorious (n= 132) was the most common of the fishes preserved.


Literature Reviews: Based on a review of the literature, Trexler (1995) listed a total of

48 fish species for the Kissimmee River. Of these, he distinguished 34 species as being

native freshwater fishes, 10 as euryhaline species, and four as exotic or nonindigenous

fish species. Trexler included in his list six species that were not taken during our survey

work. These included longnose gar Lepisosteus osseus, American eel Anguilla rostrata,

Atlantic needlefish Strongylura marina, common carp Cyprinus carpio, tidewater

silverside Menidia beryllina, and striped mullet Mugil cephalus. In his species list,

Trexler also categorized fishes based on their tolerance for low oxygen conditions,

reproductive mode, and trophic level. Based on his Table 1, the fish fauna of the

Kissimmee includes seven piscivores, six mixed piscivore and invertivores, 12

omnivores. 20 insectivores, one herbivores, and two mixed herbivore/detritivores. Also


5-19





Nico et a1125 July 2000


based on his determinations, 22 (46%) of the total 48 species recorded from the

Kissimmee were species tolerant of low oxygen conditions. Of particular importance,

Trexler (1995) discussed in detail the fish zoogeography and historical ecology of the

Kissimmee River and compared its fish species composition and diversity with other

major rivers in the southeastern United States.


Other Icthvological Samples Recorded in the Literature: There are a number of other

reports and publications dealing with fishes in the Kissimmee River basin and in Lake

Okeechobee. Most of these are studies that focused on a particular site (e.g., a single

lake) and none were in the Avon Park Air Force Range region. Concerning the

Kissimmee River and the Kissimmee River basin (exclusive of Lake Okeechobee), these

studies and surveys (at least those that have been found to date) did not uncover any

additional species not reported by other researchers working in the basin. The Florida

Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission completed surveys of several lake populations

For example. Dineen et al. (1974) sampled fishes from the Kissimmee River and

adjoining marshland, but we have not seen that report. Montalbano et al. (1979) provided

a list of fishes found in Ash Slough and Armstrong Slough, two upland retention sites

(some voucher specimens from the Armstrong Slough collections are deposited at the UF

museum). Fish populations in Lake Tohopekaliga in the Upper Kissimmee Basin were

investigated by Wegener and his colleagues (Wegener and Holcomb 1973, Wegener et al.

1974, Wegener and Williams, 1975). Guillory (1979a, 1979b) investigated fish

assemblages of Lake Conway, a natural lake in the upper Kissimmee River basin. The

above mentioned reference list should be considered incomplete. Additional works

dealing with Kissimmee River fishes are cited in Trexler (1995).


5-20








FISH STOCKING IN THE KISSIMMEE RIVER BASIN

The Richloam Fish Hatchery, a facility in Webster operated by the Florida Fish

and Wildlife Conservation Commission, has actively stocked fishes in the Kissimmee

Basin and other public and private Florida waters since about 1965. Stocking

information 1965 to June 1974 was never compiled, but the information exists on

individual applications stored in hatchery hard files (C. C. Starling, pers. comm. 1999).

Since July 1974 the hatchery has compiled stocking data in annual reports. Prior to 1965,

the Commission operated a hatchery at Winter Haven and one at Blackwater, Florida.

However, the early stocking records from these two facilities no longer exist (C. C.

Starling, pers.comm. 2000).

The following fishes are recorded as having been stocked in public waters in the

Kissimmee River Basin with varying degrees of success: Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon

idella) (mostly triploids, but also a few stockings of diploids), hybrid female Grass Carp x

Bighead Carp, Channel Catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), hybrid stripers including both

Sunshine Bass (i.e., Morone chrysops, female x M. saxatilis, male) and Palmetto Bass

(i.e., Morone chrysops, male x M. saxatilis, female), Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus),

Redear (Lepomis microlophus), Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides), and Walleye

(Stizostedion vitreum) (Starling 1974-2000). For more information, refer to species

accounts.










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FISHES: SUMMARY OF SPECIES RICHNESS AND

OCCURRENCE IN APR AND THE BASIN

Table 7-1 provides a summary of the fishes recorded from the Kissimmee Basin

and distinguishes records from APR and the three major sub-basins.

Several recent authors have tabulated the fish species known from the Kissimmee

River basin. Bass (1983) reported 44 fishes for the entire basin, including a single

foreign fish (i.e., Walking Catfish) and one species he indicated as questionable (i.e.,

mullet). In a subsequent publication, Bass (1991) reported 39 native fishes for the

Kissimmee River, but he did not provide a species list. It is likely that Bass generated his

more recent total from fishes that he knew to be associated with the Kissimmee River

itself rather than the entire basin (or he simply may have excluded all euryhaline species).

In their zoogeographical analysis of southeastern freshwater fishes, Swift et al.

(1986:217) combined the Kissimmnee River and Lake Okeechobee into a single drainage

unit. In their Table 7.1, Swift et al. reported a total of 39 species. However, their

summary Appendix and species list in the same chapter lists a total of 52 species,

including 38 native freshwater fishes, 10 euryhaline species, and an additional 7 species

identified as "suspected records" (i.e., possibly valid, but without known museum records

or other substantiation). Similarly, Toth (1993) stated that the Kissimmee River and its

floodplain supported at least 39 fish species. His list of fishes was based on survey work

in the lower Kissimmee River Sub-basin carried out by the Florida Game and Fresh

Water Fish Commission during the 1950s. However, we reviewed FGFWFC (1957) and,

contrary to Toth (1993), we found two possible errors. Toth (1993) included one species

(i.e., Dollar Sunfish) not found by us in the FGFWFC report, and another species (i.e.,









Mullet) was included in the FGFWFC report, but not listed by Toth. Based on a review

of the literature, Trexler (1995) listed a total of 48 fish species for the Kissimmee River.

Of these, he distinguished 34 species as native freshwater fishes, 10 euryhaline species,

and four exotic or foreign nonindigenous species.

It should be noted that a number of fishes known from the Kissimmee Basin have

never been preserved and vouchers deposited in major museum collections. As a result, a

few important references on fish distributions that relied heavily on museum records for

their data indicated that some natives fishes were uncommon or entirely absent from the

Kissimmee River Basin, in spite of the fact that unpublished reports indicate these same

fishes are quite common throughout much of the basin. A most extreme example, fish

distribution maps in Lee et al. (1980) and Page and Burr (1991) erroneously show no

records of Longnose Gar (Lepisosteus osseus) for the basin. Other instances are given in

the fish species account section.

The distribution map of Hensley and Courtenay (1980a) for Goldfish (Carassius

auratus) suggest that this species has been introduced throughout Florida. We are

unaware of any records of this species in the Kissimmee Basin. Nevertheless, it is

conceivable that Goldfish has been sporadically introduced as an ornamental into pond

habitats, particularly in urban areas within the basin.









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Nico et al/26 May 2000


FISH SPECIES ACCOUNTS


We present species accounts for all fishes recorded from the Kissimmee River

Basin. Species accounts for crayfishes and aquatic snails include only those species

taken in the study area during our field investigations. The species accounts are ordered

by family and follow phylogenetic order. In the heading of each account, we give the

common and scientific names and classification of the fish as native or introduced.



FISH SPECIES ACCOUNTS


LEPISOSTEIDAE: Gars


1. Florida Gar (Lepisosteus platvrhincus) NATIVE


Identification: Another name used for this species is the Florida Spotted Gar. Gars are

large, long-bodied fishes, cylindrically shaped, and covered by thick, ganoid

(nonoverlapping bony) scales; their upper and lower jaws contain numerous sharp teeth.

Lepisosteus platyrhincus is distinguished from L. osseus by the following traits: head

covered with dark spots; and snout relatively short and broad with the least width of

snout 4.5-11 times its length (for specimens greater than 50 mm long) (Suttkus 1963).

Keys that include the two gar species known from the Kissimmee River Basin appear in

Suttkus (1963) and Bennett and McFarlane (1983). Other useful references include

Wiley (1976) and Page and Burr (1991:31 & Plate 2).

Size: Wiley (1976:60, citing Hammett and Hammett 1936) reported a maximum size of

133 cm (about 52 in) TL. Palmer and Wright (1920) noted an unconfirmed report of a

specimen over 4 feet long (i.e., 1.2 meters) from the Okefenokee Swamp region. Gilbert






Nico et al./26 May 2000


(1980a) reported that adult sizes range from 330 to 860 mm (13 to 34 in) TL, with a

maximum of 1331 mm TL. Similarly, Laerm and Freeman (1986) stated that the species

ranges in length from 30 to 90 cm (i.e., 12 to 36 in) TL. Females are typically larger than

males (Holloway 1954). In the field, we measured 50 Florida Gar taken in January 1996

from several sites in the study area. These individuals ranged in size from 417 to 678

mm (16 to 27 in) TL. The largest specimen was a gravid female.

Geographic Range: The Florida Gar is native to the southeastern United States, ranging

from the Savannah River drainage of South Carolina and Georgia, to the Ocklockonee

River drainage of Georgia and Florida. It is found in much of the Atlantic Coastal Plain

of Georgia and throughout the Florida peninsula (Gilbert 1980a; Bennett and McFarlane

1983; Loftus and Kushlan 1987; Page and Burr 1991).

Kissimmee Basin Distribution: The Florida Gar is widespread in the Kissimmee River

basin and many records exist for all three major sub-basins (e.g., Wegener et al. 1974,

Wegener and Williams 1975,Yerger 1975, Milleson 1976, Guillory et al. 1979,

Montalbano et al. 1979, Williams et al. 1979, Perrin et al. 1982, Bull et al. 1991, Davis et

al. 1990, Wullschleger et al. 1990a, 1990b, Furse and Davis 1996, many others).

APR Distribution and Relative Abundance: The Florida Gar was found to be common

to abundant in suitable habitats in the study area. The species was locally abundant at a

number of sites and at these locations we often saw many more Florida Gar than the

number captured. In the western part of the Range, Florida Gar was common in Lake

Arbuckle and Arbuckle Creek. During January 1996, we observed hundreds of Florida

Gar congregated in the canal bordering the south side of Arbuckle Marsh. In the eastern

part of the Range, Florida Gar was common in remnant river channels of the Kissimmee

River and in the near-shore areas of the main canal. The species also was common in

deeper waters of several of the larger marshes (e.g., Kissimmee Marsh and Tick Island

Marsh). [Site Numbers-1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 12, 14, 17, 21, 22, 24, 25, 31, 32, 33, 36, 37, 44,

45, 69, 70, 72.] [Total Sites = 22 (29.7%)] [Number Captured = 116 (0.7%)].





Nico et al./26 May 2000


Habitat: The Florida Gar is a freshwater fish. sometimes found in brackish waters (Swift

et al. 1977, Loftus and Kushlan 1987). The species is a common resident of south

Florida fresh waters and it is often the most abundant large fish in deepwater habitats

(Loftus and Kushlan 1987). The species is typically found in backwaters, oxbows, and

lakes, and other deepwater sites away from current, usually near vegetation. During low

water periods hundreds of gar often congregate in sites with deep water.

Biology: The diet of Florida Gar populations in peninsular Florida has been reported in

publications by Hunt (1953), Holloway (1954) and Crumpton (1971), and also in an

unpublished report of Furse and Davis (1996). Similar to behavior shown by other gar

species, the Florida Gar is primarily a piscivore that preys heavily on small fishes,

although larger fish and other prey are taken occasionally. In a study of fishes in

Tamiami Canal in the Florida Everglades, Hunt (1953) found food items in the stomachs

of 106 (23.7%) of 448 Florida Gar (10.5-24.4 inches long) examined. The diet of the

Tamiami Canal population consisted principally of fish, although shrimp and other

invertebrates were also consumed. The most common fishes in the diet of the south

Florida population were Eastern Mosquitofish. Least Killifish. Flagfish and a species

identified as redfin killifish (possibly Fundulus rubrifrons) (other species taken included

Sailfin Molly, Golden Topminnow, Warmouth. and unidentified sunfishes). Holloway

(1954) investigated gar biology based on collections taken during 1939 and 1940 from

Mud Lake, Lake Eton, the Oklawaha River, and several small streams in the Ocala

National Forest. Of 2,410 stomachs examined, only about 8% contained food material.

Fishes consumed included Brook Silverside, mosquistofish, Lake Chubsucker,

Warmouth, Bluegill, Redear Sunfish. Lepomis auritus, Largemouth Bass, Yellow and

Brown bullheads, pickerel, and some unidentified topminnows and minnow species, as

well as shrimp and one or more other invertebrates. In another study in the same central

Florida region, Crumpton (1971) studied the diets of two gar species collected in 1967-

1969 from five lakes in the Oklawaha River drainage. He found food items in the





Nico et al./26 May 2000


stomachs of 350 (58%) of 603 Florida Gar examined, mostly fish, but also a number of

shrimp (Palaemonetes paludosus) and crayfish (Procambarus sp.) Fishes found in the

stomachs included Gizzard Shad, Bluegill, Black Crappie, Eastern Mosquitofish, Golden

Shiner, Largemouth Bass, as well as an unidentified Fundulus and an unidentified

minnow. Furse and Davis (1996) examined the stomachs of 240 Florida Gar (169-758

mm TL) taken from Pool C of the Kissimmee River during the period 1994-1996. They

found fish in 80 (33.3%) of the stomachs examined. The most commonly taken prey

taken were Eastern Mosquitofish and Walking Catfish. Walking Catfish were found in

the stomachs of ten Florida Gar. A wide variety of invertebrate prey were consumed,

accounting for less than 20% of the total food biomass. Based on stomach fullness data,

Furse and Davis (1996:32) concluded that Florida Gar were rather opportunistic and

apparently feed during both light and dark periods of the diel cycle.

Holloway (1954) and Moody (1957) have studied reproduction and spawning of

Florida Gar populations in peninsular Florida. Based on their work, the spawning season

of this species in central Florida extends from about April into October, with peak

spawning occurring anywhere from about April to August. In his study of gar in the

Oklawaha River drainage, Holloway (1954) reported that spawning began in May and

continued through August, and possibly into September. Holloway concluded that

spawning was at its height in July and August. Based on 515 specimens with normal

eggs, the numbers of eggs ranged from 523 to 13,312 (mean=5,209). Moody (1957)

gathered information on the reproduction of Florida Gar during a 1954 fisheries study of

Lake Pansoffkee in the Withlacoochee River drainage of central Florida. Moody noted

that most Florida Gar were in ripe condition during the months of April and May, but a

few ripe individuals were taken as late as October. The only gar from the Range that we

dissected was a large female (678 mm, 27 in, TL) taken from Arbuckle Creek on 22

January 1996. That individual was full of blue-gray eggs (its stomach was empty). Lake

Pansoffkee and the Ocala National Forest are located more than 50 miles north of Avon






Nico et al./26 May 2000


Park Range. Our discovery of a gravid female in January provides modest support for the

idea that the breeding season of certain native Florida fishes begins earlier, or is more

extended, as one moves south down the peninsula. On 22 February 1996, we observed a

large number of juvenile Florida Gar in a deep pool of a small forest stream in Eight Mile

Hammock. We captured and preserved 10 individuals (catalogue number UF 102107),

these measured 144-194 mm (6 to 8 in) TL (measurements done on preserved

specimens). We are uncertain if these represent young-of-the-year or if they had been

spawned during the last few months of 1995. For some unknown reason, there have been

very few collections and vouchers made of small juvenile Florida Gar (less than 100 mm

[4 in] TL) from Florida waters (e.g., Loftus and Kushlan 1987).

Remarks: Although the flesh of adult gar is sometimes smoked and eaten (Gammon

1998), the Florida Gar is not commonly taken by anglers and the species has little

commercial value. Because gar are usually regarded as inedible and because of their

supposed competition with sport fishes, gar are often regarded with contempt by anglers

and fisheries managers. The roe (eggs) are sometimes used for fish bait, however, gar

eggs are toxic to mammals, including humans, and should not be eaten (Laerm and

Freeman 1986; Gammon 1998). During our search of museum databases, we examined

two gar skulls, deposited at the Smithsonian (USNM 260361), labeled as "Lepisosteus

spatula" (i.e., alligator gar Atractosteus spatula). The original label reads "Lepisosteus

tristoechus" and indicated that the fish were taken from an unspecified site in the

"Kissimmee" with E. A. Mearns credited as collector. Based on the location of other

collections made by Mearns in the Kissimmee, the two gar were probably captured near

Lake Kissimmee, ca. 1901. We tentatively have concluded that the two skulls are

Lepisosteus platvrhincus. According to Suttkus (1963:70), adult Atractosteus have a

series of enlarged teeth on the palatines whereas adult Lepisosteus do not have enlarged

teeth on the palatine bones. The palatine and vomerine bones of the two skulls in

question have small teeth, but there are no enlarged teeth on these bones, suggesting the





Nico et al./26 May 2000


skulls are that of L. platyrhincus. Nevertheless, because of their small size (150 and 110

mm long), we cannot completely rule out the possibility that the skulls represent young

Alligator Gar.


Vouchers: Study Area-UF 101993 (1)*, 102028 (3)*, 102052 (1)*, 102091 (2)*,
102107 (13)*, 102153 (1)*, 102155 (1)*, 102578 (4)*, 102734 (4)*, 103621 (1)*; NCSM
27373 (1)*, 27427 (6)*, 27461 (1)*. Kissimmee Basin-UF 10345 (1), 10343 (1), 72704
(3), 72749 (2); NCSM 27535 (3)**; AMNH 22741 (2); CU 25208; TU 22962 (7); USNM
260361 (two skulls, catalogued as Lepisosteus spatula)**, USNM 260353 (skin,
catalogued as Lepisosteus plecostomus).



2. Longnose Gar (Lepisosteus osseus) NATIVE


Identification: Similar to other gars, the Longnose Gar is a large, long-bodied fish,

cylindrically shaped, and covered by thick, ganoid (nonoverlapping bony) scales. It may

be distinguished from L. platyrhincus by the following traits: head without large dark

spots; and snout extremely long and relatively narrow, with the least width of the snout

13-25.5 times its length (for specimens greater than 50 mm long) (Suttkus 1963).

Although the gar has no large spots on the head, it does have dark spots on the body and

fins. Suttkus (1963) and Bennett and McFarlane (1983) give keys that include the two

Kissimmee Basin gar species. Other useful references include Wiley (1976), Menhenick

(1991), Page and Burr (1991:30 & Plate 2), Etnier and Starnes (1993), and Jenkins and

Burkhead (1994).

Size: This species commonly reaches sizes of 150 cm (59 in) TL, although maximum

length probably exceeds 200 cm (79 in) TL (Wiley 1980). The largest Longnose Gar

taken by Moody (1957) from Lake Panasoffkee, Florida, measured 160 cm (63 in).

Geographic Range: The Longnose Gar is native to much of eastern North America

including a large portion of the Mississippi River basin, parts of the Great Lakes region,

many Atlantic Slope drainages, and various Gulf drainages from the Rio Grande to the





Nico et al./26 May 2000


Florida peninsula (Wiley 1980; Page and Burr 1991). In peninsular Florida, the

southernmost record considered valid is from Everglades Conservation Area 2A (Dineen

1974, cited by Loftus and Kuslan 1987).

Kissimmee Basin Distribution: Longnose Gar has been reported from both the Upper

and Lower Kissimmee sub-basins. We are unaware of any records from the Istokpoga

Sub-Basin. It is included in species lists of various published and unpublished survey

reports for 13 lakes in the Upper Kissimmee Sub-basin, including East Lake

Tohopekaliga (FGFWFC 1957:Table 2; Moyer et al. 1986), Lake Tohopelakiga

(Wegener and Williams 1975, Moyer et al. 1986), Lake Kissimmee (Williams et al.

1979), Lake Conway (Guillory et al. 1979), Lake Gentry (Moyer 1985b), Brick Lake

(Moyer 1985c), Lake Center (Moyer 1985d), Coon Lake (Moyer 1985c), Trout Lake

(Moyer 1985g), Lake Hart (Moyer 1985h), Lake Mary Jane (Moyer 19851), Lake

Hatchineha (Moyer et al. 1987, 1989), and Lake Russell (Moyer 1989). Records from the

Lower Kissimmee Sub-Basin are from various sites in or along the Kissimmee Canal

(Wullschleger et al. 1990a, 1990b, Bull et al. 1991, 1994, Furse and Davis 1996). A few

recent authors have stated that Longnose Gar was not collected in the mid-1950s during

pre-channelization surveys in the Lower Kissimmee Basin. However, FGFWFC (1957)

used the generic term "gar" in their lists of fishes collected and may have lumped both

Florida Gar and Longnose Gar under that heading. In their distribution maps for

Longnose Gar, Wiley (1980) and Page and Burr (1991) show no records of the species in

the Kissimmee River Basin (or in other parts of the southern half of the Florida

peninsula). The absence of capture sites in their maps is probably because there are no

known museum vouchers of this species from the Kissimmee (or from other parts of

southern Florida).

APR Distribution and Relative Abundance: We did not catch or observe Longnose

Gar during our sampling in the study area. Nevertheless, the species has been taken in

low numbers by others in Pool B of Lower Kissimmee Sub-basin and we suspect that it






Nico et alu26 May 2000


may be present in low numbers in some of the backwater areas along the eastern border

of the Range. Bull et al. (1991:Tables 37 and 53) reported taking Longnose Gar from

Pool B. Their records include one or more specimens captured in a remnant river channel

sampled with underwater explosives (i.e., detonating cord) and block-nets in 1987, and

24 specimens from unspecified parts of Pool B during electrofishing work during the

period March 1987 through December 1990. Furse and Davis (1996:Appendix B) also

reported a catch of 9 Longnose Gar in remnant river channels of Pool B while

electrofishing during the period June 1987 to June 1995. [Site Numbers-None] [Total

Sites = 0 (0%)] [Number Captured = 0 (0%)].

Habitat: The Longnose Gar is a freshwater fish, sometimes found in brackish waters.

Preferred habitat includes sluggish pools, backwaters and oxbows of medium to large

rivers, lakes; usually near vegetation (Wiley 1980; Page and Burr 1991).

Biology: This species is primarily a piscivore. The diet of Longnose Gar greater than 5

cm (2 in) TL consists primarily of fish; food of smaller individuals includes

entomostracans and aquatic insects (Bennett and McFarlane 1983). Holloway (1954) and

Crumpton (1971) have reported diets of populations in peninsular Florida. Crumpton

(1971) studied the diets of two gar species collected in 1967-1969 from five lakes in the

Oklawaha River drainage, central Florida. He found food items in the stomachs of 82

(29%) of 285 Longnose Gar examined, mostly fish, but also a few occurrences of shrimp

(Palaemonetes paludosus) and crayfish (Procambarus sp.) Fishes found in the stomachs

included Gizzard Shad, Brown Bullhead, Bluegill, Black Crappie, Redear Sunfish, and an

unidentified minnow.

Holloway (1954) and Moody (1957) have studied reproduction and spawning of

Longnose Gar populations in peninsular Florida. In his 1953-1954 investigation of Lake

Panasoffkee, in central Florida, Moody (1957) noted that Longnose Gar began to spawn

in March and continued through August. The greatest numbers of gar in spawning





Nico et alJ26 May 2000


condition were taken during the month of April. According to Bennett and McFarlane

(1983), juveniles grow very rapidly, about 10 cm per month during their first summer.

Remarks: Although the flesh may be edible, gar eggs are highly poisonous to man, cats,

dogs, mice, as well as to chickens (Becker 1983). In the past, fisheries managers often

viewed gar as detrimental to sportfishes because of their piscivorous habits. However,

other researchers have suggested that gar may actually benefit fish populations by

keeping the numbers of certain undesirable fishes in check (Holloway 1954; Becker

1983).

Vouchers: Study Area-Not collected; Kissimmee Basin-None known.



AMIIDAE: Bowfin


3. Bowfin (Amia calva) NATIVE


Identification: A commonly used name for this species is Mudfish. The Bowfin is a

moderate- to large-sized fish with a stout body, nearly cylindrical in shape. The mouth is

large with many sharp, pointed teeth. The dorsal fin is without spines and long, nearly

reaching to the caudal fin. Caudal, anal, pelvic, and pectoral fins are rounded. Males and

juveniles have a pronounced "eye spot" at the caudal base, inconspicuous or absent in

females. The Bowfin is distinctive and not similar to any other Kissimmee fishes.

Distinguishing characteristics and keys that include this species are provided by Eddy and

Underhill (1978), Bennett and McFarlane (1983), Laerm and Freeman (1986),

Menhenick (1991), Etnier and Stares (1993), and Jenkins and Burkhead (1994). For

additional information see Page and Burr (1991:31 & Plate 2).

Size: Adults are typically 457 to 610 mm (18 to 24 in) TL; maximum reported is 870

mm (34 in) TL (Burgess and Gilbert 1980). In the field, we measured 22 Bowfin taken in

January-February 1996 from several sites in the study area. These fish ranged in size





Nico et a1./26 May 2000


from 392 to 710 mm (15.5 to 28 in) TL. The largest specimen was a gravid female

collected from Arbuckle Marsh.

Geographic Range: The Bowfin is native to much of eastern North America including a

large portion of the Mississippi River basin, parts of the Great Lakes region, many

Atlantic Slope drainages, and various Gulf drainages from the Rio Grande to the Florida

peninsula. It occurs throughout peninsular Florida (Wiley 1980; Loftus and Kushlan

1986; Page and Burr 1991).

Kissimmee Basin Distribution: Amia calva is widespread and apparently common in

all three major sub-basins of the Kissimmee Rive Basin, including the Lake Istokpoga

Sub-Basin (Moxley et al. 1988, 1993; UF collections); the Lower Kissimmee Sub-Basin

(FGFWFC 1957: Yerger 1975, Milleson 1976; Perrin et al. 1982, Wullschleger et al.

1990a, 1990b; Bull et al. 1991, 1994, Davis et al. 1990, and UF and CU collections); and

the Upper Kissimmee Sub-Basin (FGFWFC 1957, Wegener et al. 1974, Wegener and

Williams 1975. Yerger 1975, Guillory et al. 1979, Moyer 1985b, the TU collection, and

others).

APR Distribution and Relative Abundance: The Bowfin is common in suitable

habitats in the study area. We found this species at 13 (17.6%) of the 74 sites sampled

and it accounted for about 0.22% (n=37) of all fish captured. The greatest numbers were

encountered in Arbuckle Marsh and Tick Island Slough. The species was consistently

found in the Kissimmee River Canal and remnant river meanders, as well as Arbuckle

Creek. We did not encounter Bowfin in smaller streams, swamps, isolated marshes,

borrow-pits, or in any of the smaller natural lakes in the study area. [Site Numbers-1, 2,

7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 17, 21, 32, 72] [Total Sites= 13 (17.6%)] [Number Captured = 37

(0.22%)].

Habitat: The Bowfin inhabits sluggish, clear, often vegetated, lowland waters (Burgess

and Carter 1980).


8-10





Nico et a1./26 May 2000


Biology: Based on his study of fishes in the St. Johns River, McLane (1955) reported that

Bowfin breed from February through late spring. In late January through February 1996

while in the field, we dissected four large Bowfin taken from the study area, all had

empty stomachs. Three of the dissected individuals were gravid females (457- 710 mm

TL) full of blue-gray eggs. One female (604 mm TL) had tapeworms in the

gastrointestinal tract. The other dissected fish (592 mm TL) had no gross observed gonad

tissues, but the body cavity had large amounts of stored yellow fat. During late January

1996, we also determined the sex and reproductive condition of a series of large

individuals (n= 11) by extruding gametes with gentle pressure on the abdomen. Of the

total number of dissected and examined Bowfin whose sex was determined, females

(n=12) ranged in size from 457 to 710 mm TL (mean=619 mm TL); the two males

measured 581 and 598 mm TL.

Remarks: The Bowfin is generally considered a poor food fish.

Vouchers: Study Area-UF 102732 (1), 103003 (2); NCSM 27433 (1). Kissimmee
Basin-UF 34982 (1), 72773 (1), 72818 (1), 77656 (1); NCSM 27536 (1); TU 22963 (4);
CU 24138; USNM 260344 (skull); USNM 260344 (skull, locality given as "Fla,
Kissimmee River).



ANGUILLIDAE: Eels


4. American Eel (Anguilla rostrata) NATIVE

Identification: Anguilla rostrata is the only eel-like fish known from the Kissimmee

River Basin. The head is elongate, and the lower jaw protrudes. The mouth is large with

numerous teeth. There is a single, small gill opening in front of each pectoral fin. Dorsal

and anal fins are long and continuous with caudal fin. There are no pelvic fins.

Distinguishing characteristics and keys that include this species are provided by Eddy and

Underhill (1978), Bennett and McFarlane (1983), Laerm and Freeman (1986),


8-11





Nico et a./26 May 2000


Menhenick (1991), Etnier and Starnes (1993), and Jenkins and Burkhead (1994). Useful

references include Robins et al. (1986:49-50 & Plate 10) and Page and Burr (1991:32).

Size: Females to 150 cm (59 in) TL, but rarely more than 90 cm (35 in); males much

smaller (Robins et al. 1986); to 152 cm (60 in) TL (Page and Burr 1991).

Geographic Range: Fresh and coastal waters throughout eastern North America and

northern South America (Robins et al. 1986).

Kissimmee Basin Distribution: The only records of Anguilla rostrata in the Basin are

collections reported by FGFWFC (1957) and Bull et al. (1991) from the lower reaches of

the Kissimmee River and Kissimmee Canal (Lower Kissimmee Sub-basin). As part of

their pre-channelization surveys (May 1956 to July 1957), FGFWFC (1957:Table 43)

reported the capture of 11 eels, all taken in wire traps set in stations in the lower

Kissimmee River and in Government Run. During a four-year period (1987-1990), Bull

et al. (1991:109-110) reported taking only a single American Eel. That fish was taken

with an electroshocker boat in 1989 from a remnant river channel in Pool E just

downstream of water control structure S-65D.

APR Distribution and Relative Abundance: We did not collect Anguilla during our

sampling in the study area. However, one member of our crew observed several eel-like

animals during the course of electroshocking activities, two in a backwater area of a

Kissimmee remnant river meander and a third in the water along the Kissimmee Canal.

The visual records are unconfirmed since they may represent sightings of some other eel-

like animal (i.e.. certain amphibians) rather than American Eel. [Site Numbers-None]

[Total Sites = 0 (0%)] [Number Captured = 0 (0%)].


8-12





Nico et al./26 May 2000


Habitat: In fresh waters the American Eel is known to occur in a variety of habitats,

including open waters, river channels, masses of rooted vegetation and floating plants,

slow- and fast-flowing streams, roadside ditches, cypress swamps, and ponds (McLane

1955).

Biology: McLane (1955:128-130) provides information on eels as part of his study of the

fishes of St. Johns River Basin. The American Eel is catadromous, a species that lives in

fresh water but migrating to the coasts or into the open sea to spawn. McLane reported

that the eel apparently is a nocturnal predator. He examined the stomach contents of

more than a hundred individuals (147 to 419 mm [6 to 16.5 in] TL) taken from the St.

Johns River Basin and concluded that the species feeds most heavily on crustaceans,

mainly small crabs. Other items found in stomachs included isopods, and a few

crayfishes (Procambarus species) and fish remains. McLane (1955) reported that young

eels moved up the St. Johns River in large numbers during the early spring months.

It is believed that spawning takes place in late winter and spring, with a peak in spawning

activity in February (see Kleckner et al. 1983, Env. Biol. Fishes 9:289-293). Additional

information is given by Facey and Helfman (1985). Invasion of fresh waters in Florida

discussion by Swift et al. (1974:21) and he cites papers by Smith (1968, Bull. Mar. Sc.

18(2):280-193) and Eldred (1971).

Remarks: Based on fish catch data, it seems clear that the American Eel is rare or

uncommon in the Kissimmee River Basin. A comparison of survey results from before

and after channelization of the Kissimmee River suggests that the American Eel may be

declining in numbers since channel modification. It may be reasonable to assume that

water control structures in the lower part of the Kissimmee Canal act as barriers and are


8-13






Nico et a1./26 May 2000


preventing eels from migrating from Lake Okeechobee into the Kissimmee waterway.

Nevertheless, a well-designed study using appropriate gear (e.g., eel traps) are needed to

more accurately determine eel movements and population size. Based on his sampling of

a cypress swamp pool, McLane (1955) reported that the American Eel was one of the last

fish to be affected by Rotenone.

Vouchers: Study Area-Not collected; Kissimmee Basin-None known.





CLUPEIDAE: Herrings and Shads

5. Gizzard Shad (Dorosoma cepedianum) NATIVE



Identification: Another name used for this species is American Gizzard Shad. Clupeids

known from the Kissimmee Basin are characterized by the following traits: compressed,

silvery body, abdomen armed with bony scutes, and last dorsal-fin ray elongate and

threadlike (except in young). Dorosoma cepedianum is distinguished from D. petenense

by the following traits: snout bulbous and fleshy (in specimens longer than 7 cm); mouth

subterminal or inferior; snout tip extending forward of lower jaw; ventral margin of upper

jaw with pronounced notch (except in young); more than 50 scales in lateral series,

irregularly arranged; anal rays 25-37, usually 29-35 (Miller 1963, Etnier and Starnes

1993:121, Jenkins and Burkhead 1994:211). The two clupeid species found in the

Kissimmee River Basin are included in keys given by Eddy and Underhill (1978),

Menhinick (1991), Etnier and Starnes (1993:121), and Jenkins and Burkhead (1994).


8-14





Nico et al./26 May 2000


Other useful references include Whitehead (1985:233-234), Robins et al. (1986:70 &

Plate 12), and Page and Burr (1991:35-36 & Plate 3).

Size: To 52 cm (20.5 in) TL (Page and Burr 1991). According to Miller (1963), the

Gizzard Shad may attain 52 cm (20.5 in) TL, but does not commonly grow longer than 25

to 36 cm (10-14 in).

Geographic Range: Atlantic and Gulf drainages of eastern North America south to

Mexico (Miller 1963, Whitehead 1985, Page and Burr 1991).

Kissimmee Basin Distribution: The Gizzard Shad is widespread in the Kissimmee

River Basin and records exist for all three major sub-basins. Records from the Lower

Kissimmee Sub-basin are from various sites in or along the Kissimmee mainstem

(FGFWFC 1957. Yerger 1975, Milleson 1976, Perrin 1982, Bull et al. 1991, 1994, Davis

et al. 1990, Toth 1990, Wullschleger et al. 1990a, 1990b, Furse and Davis 1996, UF

collection). In the Upper Kissimmee Sub-basin most records are from lakes habitats

(FGFWFC 1957, UF collection, Wegener and Williams 1975, Wegener 1974, Yerger

1975, Guillory et al. 1979, Williams et al. 1979, Moyer et al. 1985b, 1985e, 1985g,

1985h, 1983i. and later Moyer reports); however, the species has been taken from Shingle

Creek (Yerger 1975). The only records from the Istokpoga Sub-basin are from Lake

Istokpoga (Moxley et al. 1988, 1993). In their maps showing the native distribution of

Gizzard Shad. Megrey (1980) and Page and Burr (1991) exclude all of most of the

Kissimmmee River basin.

APR Distribution and Relative Abundance: Only one Gizzard Shad was taken during

our survey. That fish was found dead and floating in the water in the Kissimmee River

Canal. Bull et al. (1991:95) reported taking 210 Gizzard Shad from Pool B of the


8-15





Nico et a./26 May 2000


Kissimmee River as part of their electrofishing catch of March 1987 through December

1990. Milleson (1976) reported taking Gizzard Shad from Pool B during sampling of an

oxbow. [Site Numbers-2.] [Total Sites = 1 (1.4%)] [Number Captured = 1 (0.01%)].

Habitat: The Gizzard Shad is a pelagic, schooling fish that occurs in a broad range of

habitats, including marine, brackish, and fresh waters.

Biology: Moody (1957) and Berry (1958) provide information on populations occurring

in peninsular Florida. Berry (1958) researched the age and growth of gizzard shad in

Newnan Lake. in central Florida. He noted that spawning is concentrated in March and

April and probably extends from February into May.

Remarks: Clupeids are schooling fishes with patchy distributions. According to

Whitehead (1985), this species is valued as forage for various game fishes and has been

used to some extent for fertilizer or cattle food. It also is used to some extent as bait,

especially for large catfish and striped bass (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994.

Vouchers: Study Area-NCSM 27462 (1). Kissimmee Basin-UF 35637 (11), 72775
(1), 72800 (4). 76744 (4); NCSM 27537 (1).



6. Threadfin Shad (Dorosoma petenense) NATIVE(?)

Identification: Dorosoma petenense is distinguished from D. cepedianum by the

following traits: mouth somewhat pointed; lower jaw projecting past (anterior to) snout

tip (i.e., upper jaw); ventral edge of upper jaw smooth (no notch); fewer than 50 scales in

lateral series, irregularly arranged; anal rays 17-27, usually 19-25 (Miller 1963:448,

Etnier and Starnes 1993:121, Jenkins and Burkhead 1994:211). Other useful references

include Eddy and Underhill (1978), Whitehead (1985), Robins et al. (1986:70 & Plate

12), and Page and Burr (1991:35-36 & Plate 3).


8-16






Nico et a1J26 May 2000


Size: To 23 cm (9 in) TL (Page and Burr 1991). According to Miller (1963), in southern

states the Threadfin Shad may grow to 18 cm (7 in) TL, but slightly larger farther south

in Central America.

Geographic Range: Gulf of Mexico drainages of North and Central America

(Whitehead 1985); also known from, possibly introduced to, Atlantic drainages of the

eastern United States (Fuller et al 1999).

Kissimmee Basin Distribution: The Threadfin Shad is widespread in the Kissimmee

River Basin and records exist for all three major sub-basins.

APR Distribution and Relative Abundance: This species was taken in only 2 (2.7%)

of the 74 samples and it accounted for about 0.17% (n=29) of all fish captured. Similar

to Gizzzard Shad, the Threadfin Shad is a schooling fish often with a patchy distribution.

Bull et al. (1991:95) reported on the taking of 752 Threadfin Shad from Pool B of the

Kissimmee River during electrofishing work from March 1987 through December 1990.

[Site Numbers-12, 13] [Total Sites = 2 (2.7%)] [Number Captured = 29 (0.17%)].

Habitat: The Gizzard Shad is a pelagic, schooling fish that occurs in brackish and fresh

waters. In fresh waters it occurs in streams, lakes, and reservoirs.

Biology: According to Miller (1963), Threadfin Shad may spawn when they are less

than one year old. It is known to hybridize with Gizzard Shad (Minckley and Krumholz

1960). For information on peninsular Florida populations, see Berry (1958), Finucane

(1965), and Zale and Gregory (1990).

Remarks: This species is valued as a food for larger sport fishes (Whitehead 1985), as a

result, it has been widely introduced as a forages species, making accurate delineation of

native range difficult (Burgess 1980, Fuller et al. 1999). Although Lee et al. (1980)


8-17





Nico et a./26 May 2000


treated this species as a Florida native, C. Gilbert (pers. comm. 1999) believes there is a

considerable amount of circumstantial evidence to indicate that the Threadfin Shad is not

native east of the Mississippi River, but was introduced as a forage fish beginning in the

early part of the 1900s (also see Ravenel 1901, Fuller et al. 1999:48). It is known to

hybridize with D. cepedianum (Minckley and Krumholz 1960, Whitehead 1985).

Vouchers: Study Area-UF 102621 (1). Kissimmee Basin-UF 35607 (73), 68832 (4),
72799 (80), NCSM 27538 (23).




ESOCIDAE: Pikes


7. Chain Pickerel (Esox nige NATIVE


Identification: Two members of the family, both pickerels, are known from the

Kissimmee Basin. They are characterized by the following traits: cylindrical body,

duckbill-shaped snout, and forked tail. Esox niger is distinguished from E. americanus

by the following traits: dusky bar beneath eye vertical; snout longer (with distance from

tip of snout to center of eye equal to or greater than distance from center of eye to upper,

posterior edge of gill cover); adult with chainlike markings on side; 14-16 (rarely 13)

branchiostegal rays on each side (Laerm and Freeman 1986, Etnier and Starnes 1993,

Jenkins and Burkhead 1994). The two pickerel species found in the Kissimmee River

Basin are included in keys given by Eddy and Underhill (1978), Laerm and Freeman

(1986:24), Menhinick (1991:54), Etnier and Starnes (1993:333), and Jenkins and

Burkhead (1994:0-230-231). Another useful references is Page and Burr (1991:60-61 &

Plate 6).

Size: To 99 cm (39 in) TL (Page and Burr 1991). In the field, we measured two chain

pickerel captured in the study area in early 1996. A specimen taken 22 January from


8-18






Nico et a1./26 May 2000


Arbuckle Creek measured 420 mm SL and one taken 23 January from Kissimmee River

canal measured 460 mm SL.

Geographic Range: Throughout the eastern half of the United States (Page and Burr

1991).

Kissimmee Basin Distribution: The Chain Pickerel is widespread in the Kissimmee

River Basin and records exist for all three major sub-basins.

APR Distribution and Relative Abundance: This species was uncommon in our

samples, occurring in 6 (8.1%) of the 74 fish samples and accounting for about 0.05%

(n=8) of all fish captured. In the study area, Chain Pickerel inhabited vegetated near-

shore areas of the Kissimmee River Canal and of Lake Arbuckle. It also occurred in

Arbuckle Creek. [Site Numbers-2, 7, 8, 11, 65, 69] [Total Sites = 6 (8.1%)] [Number

Captured = 8 (0.05%)].

Habitat: Typically occurs in vegetated lakes, swamps, and backwaters and quiet pools

of streams (Page and Burr 1991).

Biology: McLane (1955:64-65) provides information on this species as part of his study

of the fishes of St. Johns River Basin. For additional information on populations in

peninsular Florida, see Buntz (1967), Guillory (1981), and Bull et al. (1995).

Remarks: Txo specimens included in our survey were taken by local anglers, one from

northern part of Arbuckle Lake and another from near the boat ramp on the west side of

Arbuckle Creek.

Vouchers: Study Area-UF 103005 (1), NCSM 27374 (1), 27463 (2). Kissimmee
Basin-UF 6 (1). 68820 (1), 72679 (1), 72774 (1), 72798 (1); NCSM 27539 (1); USNM
[catalogued as Esox reticulatus] 82253, 82254, 197853.



8. Grass Pickerel (Eso americanus vermiculatus) NATIVE


8-19






Nico et a1./26 May 2000


Identification: Another commonly used name for this species is the Redfin Pickerel.

This small pickerel is sometimes mistakenly identified as young of the chain pickerel.

Esox americanus is distinguished from E. anger by the following traits: dusky bar

beneath eye angled downward and slightly backward; snout shorter (with distance from

tip of snout to center of eye equal to or less than distance from center of eye to upper,

posterior edge of gill cover); adults with irregular vertically barred pattern on side; 12 or

fewer (occasionally 13) branchiostegal rays on each side (Laerm and Freeman 1986,

Etnier and Starnes 1993, Jenkins and Burkhead 1994). The two pickerel species found in

the Kissimmee River Basin are included in keys given by Laerm and Freeman (1986:24),

Etnier and Starnes (1993:333) and Jenkins and Burkhead (1994:230-231). Another

useful reference is Page and Burr (1991:60 & Plate 6). Two subspecies are recognized,

E. a. americanus and E. a. vermiculatus. Based on Crossman (1980), populations found

in most of Florida, including those in peninsular Florida, are intergrades between the two

subspecies.

Size: To 38 cm (15 in) TL (Page and Burr 1991).

Geographic Range: Native to much of the eastern half of the United States (Page and

Burr 1991).

Kissimmee Basin Distribution: The Redfin Pickerel is widespread in the Kissimmee

River Basin anJl records exist for all three major sub-basins.

APR Distribution and Relative Abundance: This species was uncommon in our

samples. It occurred in 5 (6.8 %) of the 74 fish samples and accounted for about 0.04%

(n=7) of all lish captured. Three Grass Pickerel were taken from a small stream on

Boswell Road draining east to the Kissimmee River canal just north of Kissimmee Road.

Other sites where it was taken included Submarine Lake, a remnant meander of the

Kissimmee Ri\ cr, and a small, isolated marsh in the northwest corer of the study area.

A juvenile Grass Pickerel (25 mm SL) was taken on 20 February 1996 from a borrow pit

near the junction of Frostproof and Carter roads in the northwest part of the study area.


8-20





Nico et al./26 May 2000


[Site Numbers-26, 38, 48, 68, 72] [Total Sites = 5 (6.8 %)] [Number Captured = 7

(0.04%)].

Habitat: This species typically occurs in lakes, swamps, and backwaters, as well as

sluggish pools of streams, often associated with vegetation (Page and Burr 1991).

Biology: McLane (1955:65-68) provides information this species as part of his study of

the fishes of St. Johns River Basin. In their investigations of fishes of Okefenokee

Swamp, Palmer and Wright (1920) examined the stomachs of ten Grass Pickerel and

reported that crayfish and killifish to be the major prey.

Remarks: We are unaware of any published studies on the diet or reproduction of

populations in peninsular Florida. According to Bennett and McFarlane (1983), young

feed on zooplankton, whereas adult and subadult Grass Pickerel primarily prey on other

fishes.

Vouchers: Study Area-UF 102008 (1), 102126 (3), 102593 (1), 102918 (1). 102926
(1). Kissimmee Basin-UF 34985 (3), 72688 (1); USNM 197853 [from "Lake
Kissimmee" no date].



CYPRINIDAE: Minnows and Carps



9. Common Carp (Cvprinus carpio) FOREIGN

Identification: The Common Carp is a medium- to large-sized fish with large scales, a

long dorsal fin ( 17 to 21 rays), and two barbels on each side of upper jaw (the first barbel

is very small). It has a stout, saw-toothed spine (and two smaller spines) at front of

dorsal and anal fins. Distinguishing characteristics and keys that include this species (and

all, or most, of the other cyprinids found in the Kissimmee Basin) are provided by Eddy

and Underhill (1978), Bennett and McFarlane (1983), Menhenick (1991), and Mettee et


8-21






Nico t al./26 May 2000


al. (1996). For additional information see Page and Burr (1991:64-65 & Plate 14), Etnier

and Starnes (1993), Jenkins and Burkhead (1994), and Rhode et al. (1994).

Size: To 122 cm (48 in) TL (Page and Burr 1991).

Geographic Range: The Common Carp is native to Eurasia; it has been widely

introduced in the United States (Fuller et al. 1999). The species is uncommon in

peninsular Florida.

Kissimmee Basin Distribution: The only record of Common Carp in the Kissimmee

Basin is from the Lower Kissimmee Sub-Basin. Bull et al. (1991:95) reported taking

Common Carp from Paradise Run during electrofishing work during the period February

1987 to November 1987.

APR Distribution and Relative Abundance: We did not collect this species during our

survey work and the occurrence of it in the Avon Park area is somewhat doubtful. [Site

Numbers-None] [Total Sites = 0 (0%)] [Number Captured = 0 (0%)].

Habitat: The Common Carp is typically found in shallow turbid pools of streams, lakes,

and ponds (Page and Burr 1991).

Biology: Almost nothing is known about populations of Common Carp found in

peninsular Florida.

Remarks: None.

Vouchers: Study Area-Not captured. Kissimmee Basin-None known.



10. Grass Carp (Ctenopharvngodon idella) FOREIGN

Identification: The Grass Carp is a large fish, with large scales and 7 dorsal-fin rays (no

spines). It has a wide head and a terminal mouth (no barbels). Distinguishing





Nico et al./26 May 2000


characteristics and keys that include this species (and all, or most, of the other cyprinids

found in the Kissimmee Basin) are provided by Eddy and Underhill (1978). Menhenick

(1991) and Mettee et al. (1996). For additional information see Page and Burr (1991:63-

64 & Plate 7), Etnier and Starnes (1993), Jenkins and Burkhead (1994), and Rhode et al.

(1994).

Size: To 125 cm (49 in) TL (Page and Burr 1991)

Geographic Range: The Grass Carp is native to eastern Asia; it has been widely

introduced throughout much of the United States (Fuller et al. 1999).

Kissimmee Basin Distribution: There are records of Grass Carp, either being stocked as

vegetation control agents or as being sighted or re-captured during fish surveys, for all

three major sub-basins. Based on Richloam Fish Hatchery records for the period July

1974-November 1999, the Florida Fish and Game Conservation Commission has stocked

more than 155.000 Grass Carp in public lakes and ponds in the Upper Kissimmee and

Istokpoga sub-basins since the late 1970s (Starling 1985-1999, Thomas 1994). More

than 125,000 triploids were released into Lake Istokpoga during the period 1989 to 1993

(Starling 1990. 1991, 1993, Thomas 1994). Other public water bodies in the Istokpoga

Sub-basin that have been stocked with triploid Grass Carp include lakes Glenada,

Pioneer, Letta. and Lotela (Starling 1989-1991, 1993-1994, 1999-2000). Public water

bodies in the Upper Kissimmee Sub-basin that have been stocked include lakes Beauty,

Catherine, Conwvay, Emerald, Fish, Greenwood, Mare Prairie, Theresa, Wales, and

Whippoorwill. and various other sites (Starling 1984-1993, 1996-2000). In the Lower

Kissimmee Sub-basin, Grass Carp have been captured or observed by Bull et al.

(1991:95, 104), Wullschleger et al. (1990a), and Furse and Davis (1996).


8-23





Nico et al./26 May 2000


APR Distribution and Relative Abundance: Grass Carp was uncommon in our

samples. One specimen, a large individual (about 80 cm TL), was collected from

Arbuckle Creek on 25 January 1996. Bull et al. (1991:95) reported on the taking of a

single Grass Carp from Pool B of the Kissimmee River during electrofishing work from

March 1987 through December 1990. Arbuckle Creek empties into Istokpoga and it is

likely that the specimen taken during our sampling represented an individual that moved

upstream from that lake. We are unaware of any stockings into Arbuckle Lake by local

authorities, although such an introduction is a possibility. Bull et al. (1991:95) reported

taking a single Grass Carp from Pool B in 1988. [Site Numbers-17] [Total Sites = 1

(1.4%)] [Number Captured = 1 (0.01%).

Habitat: The Grass Carp typically inhabits large streams and associated backwaters, as

well as lakes and reservoirs.

Biology: For information on populations in Florida, see references in Fuller et al. (1999).

A series of studies examined the use of Grass Carp to control aquatic macrophytes in a

few lakes in the Kissimmee River Basin (e.g., Ewel and Fontaine 1981, Keown and

Russell 1982).

Remarks: This species has been widely stocked throughout Florida for the purposes of

nuisance aquatic plant control. Since the late 1970s more than 2,000 water bodies in

Florida have been stocked with Grass Carp (Haller 1994). The majority of the Grass

Carp stocked in the Kissimmee River Basin were triploids. However, some of the earlier

stockings of Grass Carp in the Upper Kissimmee Sub-Basin involved limited use of

diploids or hybrids. Records indicate that 291 diploid Grass Carp were stocked into Lake

Wales during the period 1979-1980 and approximately 7,000 hybrid Grass Carp (female)


8-24






Nico et al./26 May 2000


x Bighead Carp (male) were stocked into a few water bodies in the Orlando area,

including Lake Pineloch (=Lake Pinelock) and several ponds near the Orlando airport,

during the early 1980s (Starling 1981-1984, C. Starling, pers. comm. 2000). Lake

Conway was stocked with 7,000 Grass Carp in September, 1977 (Keown and Russell

1982). Although the ploidy of these fish were not reported, the Lake Conway stocking

may have involved diploids or possibly hybrids. An estimated 125,300 triploid Grass

Carp were stocked into Lake Istokpoga during the period 1989-1993. The single Grass

Carp taken by us from Arbuckle Creek was likely a wanderer from fish stocked into Lake

Istokpoga.

Vouchers: Study Area-Specimen not retained. Kissimmee Basin-None known.



11. Golden Shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas) NATIVE

Identification: The Golden Shiner is a deep-bodied, small- to medium-sized fish with a

strongly decurved lateral line. Distinguishing characteristics and keys that include this

species (and the other four native minnows known from the Kissimmee Basin) are

provided by Eddy and Underhill (1978:76), Bennett and McFarlane (1983), and Mettee et

al. (1996). For additional information see Page and Burr (1991:66-67 & Plate 7, Fig. 16),

Menhenick (1991), Etnier and Stares (1993), Jenkins and Burkhead (1994), and Rhode

et al. (1994).

Size: To 30 cm (12 in) TL (Page and Burr 1991).

Geographic Range: This species is native to much of the eastern half of the United

States (Page and Burr 1991).


8-25






Nico et al./26 May 2000


Kissimmee Basin Distribution: This species is widespread in the Kissimmee River

Basin and records exist for all three major sub-basins.

APR Distribution and Relative Abundance: The Golden Shiner is common and

relatively widespread in the study area. This species was taken in 15 (20.3%) of the 74

fish samples and accounted for about 0.87% (n=145) of all fish captured. Most

specimens (n=91) were taken from the Kissimmee River Canal and its remnant channels.

The species was also common in samples taken from the Tick Island Marsh and Eight

Mile Slough complexes. A few golden shiner were collected from small streams,

including Morgan Hole Creek and Tomlin Gulley, and from an isolated pool in a small

drying creek draining Echo Range and Charlie Range. It also appeared in a sample from

near the southern shore of Lake Arbuckle. [Site Numbers-1, 2, 11, 15, 21, 23, 24, 25,

31, 32, 37, 61, 62, 63, 69] [Total Sites = 15 (20.3%)] [Number Captured = 145 (0.87%)].

Habitat: The Golden Shiner occurs in a wide variety of habitats, including pools of

small and large streams, lakes, and swamps (Page and Burr 1991).

Biology: Furse and Davis (1996) examined the stomach contents of 37 Golden Shiner

(69-216 mm TL) taken from Pool C of the Kissimmee River in October 1994 and

February 1995. Algae and organic detritus were the most important items in the diet,

accounting for 96.8% of the total food biomass. The most commonly invertebrates

identified from stomach contents were hydracarina (aquatic mites), small crustaceans

(cladocerans and ostacods), and small insects. McLane (1955:76-79) provides

information this species as part of his study of the fishes of St. Johns River Basin.

Remarks: None.

Vouchers: Study Area-UF 100557 (4), 100567 (1), 100579 (9), 101995 (2), 102044
(3), 102099 (3), 102491 (4), 102560 (4), 102577 (3), 102739 (14); NCSM 27371 (3),


8-26





Nico et a./26 May 2000


27428 (56), 27464 (33). Kissimmee Basin-UF 32800 (8), 32901 (4), 35608 (26), 36024
(14), 68819 (59), 72662 (26), 72686 (7), 72705 (57), 72751 (0), 72796 (8), 72819 (410),
76738 (68), 77645 (2); NCSM 27540 (7); CU 23910, 24228.



12. Ironcolor Shiner (Notropis chalvbaeus) NATIVE

Identification: The Ironcolor Shiner is a silvery, rather chubby small minnow. Anal fin

usually has 8 (rarely 7 or 9) rays. On the mid-sides there is a well-defined black stripe

extending from base of tail fin to tip of snout. The lower lip and chin (and inside of

mouth) are well pigmented. The species is similar in appearance to the Coastal Shiner

Notropis petersoni (the latter is a larger, less deep-bodied minnow that typically has 7

anal fin rays, but see remarks section). In addition to anal-fin ray count differences,

Bennett and McFarlane (1983) separate the two species by the pattern of the

pigmentation at the base of the anal fin. For N. petersoni, the pigment around base of

anal fin that extends to caudal fin is described as 2 or 3 broken stripes; however, in N.

chalvbaeus this apparently is not the case. Among other traits, to distinguish the species

from N. petersoni, Menhinick (1991) noted that N. chalvbaeus was characterized by the

following: lateral stripe usually present just behind eye (versus stripe absent just behind

eye); snout short, 1.3-1.5 times eye diameter (versus 1.0 to 1.2 times); lateral line with 32

to 33 scales (versus 34 to 36); first dorsal ray extends 2.5 to 3.0 scales behind last dorsal

ray when fin is appressed (versus 1.5 to 2.0 scales); preorbital stripe not reaching eye

(versus reaching eye). Distinguishing characteristics and keys that include this species

are provided by Eddy and Underhill (1978), Bennett and McFarlane (1983), Menhenick

(1991), Jenkins and Burkhead (1994). Mettee et al. (1996), and Pflieger (1997). For


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