piebald_madtom MVC-005S.JPG

Noturus gladiator | Piebald Madtom

The Piebald Madtom, Noturus gladiator (Thomas and Burr, 2004), is described from tributaries of the Coastal Plain in Tennessee and Mississippi. This species, formerly part of the N. stigmosus complex, is distinguished by its bold and contrasting pigment pattern, large body size, specific aspects of body shape, and more extensive armature on the anterior and posterior portions of the pectoral spine. Known historically from seven river systems, the species is maintaining stable populations in the upper Obion River, Hatchie River, and Wolf River, but has not been collected in two river systems of Mississippi for over 30 years. The Piebald Madtom is vulnerable to local extinctions because of poor environmental quality in the lower reaches of streams it inhabits, and because its "equilibrium" life history strategy makes it susceptible to sudden changes in flow regimes, spates of siltation in potential nesting reaches, and a concomitant loss in recruitment from the relatively few large males that nest and reproduce.