Eastern Sand Darter (Ontario populations)

Ammocrypta pellucida

SARA Status
No Status
NS
Special Concern
SC
Threatened
TH
Endangered
EN
Extirpated
EX

SARA Status

  • No Status NS
  • Special Concern SC
  • Threatened TH
  • Endangered EN
  • Extirpated EX
COSEWIC Status
Not at Risk
NR
Special Concern
SC
Threatened
TH
Endangered
EN
Extirpated
EX

COSEWIC Status

  • Not at Risk NR
  • Special Concern SC
  • Threatened TH
  • Endangered EN
  • Extirpated EX

Note:

The Eastern Sand Darter was listed as "threatened" under the Species at Risk Act in June 2003. The COSEWIC re-evaluated the species' status in 2009 and maintained its status as "threatened". However, Canadian Eastern Sand Darter populations were split into two designatable units, a first designatable unit for Quebec populations and a second for the populations in Ontario.

Description

The Eastern Sand Darter is a translucent and elongated fish of a yellowish or silvery colour with a series of 10-14 dark lateral spots. It is partially covered with scales. Adults range in length from 45 to 70 mm.

Habitat

The global range of Eastern Sand Darter is limited to North America. Its main range is located in eastern central United States north to the southernmost part of Ontario, with a smaller area located in Quebec and includes a few tributaries in Vermont and New York. In Ontario, it lives in Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie, and several streams in southwestern Ontario.

The Eastern Sand Darter feeds mainly on midge larvae and zooplankton. Eastern Sand Darter are usually found in sandy areas in streams and on the sandy shoals of lakes.

Threats

The extent of occurrence of this species in Ontario is approximately half of what it was in the 1970s as a result of habitat loss and degradation from increasing urban and agricultural development, stream channelization and pollution. Dams have also created barriers to movement and affected habitat on some streams. A potentially significant threat relates to invasive species, with growing concerns relating to the ongoing colonization of the Round Goby in Great Lakes tributaries where the Eastern Sand Darter lives.

Further Information

Since June 2003, the Eastern Sand Darter is protected under the Species at Risk Act, which prohibits harming, killing or capturing individuals.

A recovery strategy is currently being developed in collaboration with the recovery team, which includes representatives from Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, local Conservation Authorities, universities, and other interested stakeholders.

Several recovery measures have already been implemented. For example, there are currently four aquatic ecosystem-based recovery strategies for the following areas: Thames River, Sydenham River, Grand River and the Essex-Erie region. Each of these ecosystem-based strategies helps to support various populations of Eastern Sand Darter. In addition, stewardship and outreach/awareness programs to reduce identified threats are ongoing.

Visit the (SARA) Public Registry Profile.

Eastern Sand Darter (Ontario populations)

Eastern Sand Darter in its preferred sandy habitat

Eastern Sand Darter in its preferred sandy habitat
Alan Dextrase (Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources

Scientific Name: Ammocrypta pellucida
SARA Status: Threatened (June 2003)*
COSEWIC Status: Threatened (November 2009)
Region: Central & Arctic (Ontario)

Ontario distribution of the Eastern Sand Darter.

Ontario distribution of the Eastern Sand Darter.

Did You Know?

The Eastern Sand Darter buries itself in the sand, sometimes completely or leaving only its eyes exposed. This enables the fish to stay put in fast water and perhaps hide from predators. Thus, it is very vulnerable to any activity that could alter its preferred clean sand habitat.

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