Fishes of Key West

Above: Roanoke darter, Percina roanoka

Theo Staengl
June 4, 2021

This spring I helped conduct a fish survey as part of a wider biological survey on a property at the edge of the Key West neighborhood, in Charlottesville. This property borders the Rivanna River for about a mile. Redbud Creek, a small stream, leads into the Rivanna from off the property. The other water on the property is a channel-like muddy pond that is at the longest 4 feet wide and around 75 yards long. Doing a fish survey was very different for me but it was a great experience to catch different species of fish and learn how to identify them. In Redbud Creek, I used mostly a dip net to catch fish, but I also used a cast net in some of the pools, which was very effective as it covered most of the pool. The most common species I found in Redbud Creek were creek chub (Semotilus species) and Central stonerollers (Campostoma anomalum). I also found many sunfish in pools in the creek including Redbreast sunfish (Lepomis auritus) and Redear sunfish (Lepomis microlophus). The other family of fish that are prolific in the creek are darters. I caught fantail darters (Etheostoma flabellare) and a Roanoke darter (Percina roanoka). It was interesting to find Percina roanoka here because they’re not native to this area and were introduced into the Rivanna watershed. I also found a margined madtom (Noturus insignis) and torrent suckers (Thoburnia rhothoeca) in Redbud Creek. In the pond on the property, I found green sunfish (Lepomis cyanellus) and greengill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus × cyanellus). Roanoke darters (Percina roanoka) were abundant in the river, along with bluntnose minnows (Pimephales notatus). I also caught bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) and largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), with my fishing pole.