The Upland Dusky Shiner, Notropis cummingsae collis Hubbs & Raney 1951

In November 2013 and February 2014, I co-authored a talk with Dr. Wayne C. Starnes at the annual meetings of the Southeastern Fishes Council ( and the North Carolina Chapter of the American Fisheries Society ( on one of North Carolina’s forgotten nongame fish subspecies – the Upland Dusky Shiner, Notropis cummingsae collis. The Dusky Shiner, Notropis cummingsae Myers 1925, was partitioned by Hubbs and Raney in 1951 into two subspecies, the Lowland Dusky Shiner, Notropis cummingsae cummingsae, and the Upland Dusky Shiner, N. cummingsae collis. The distribution of the Lowland Dusky Shiner lies east and south of the Fall Zone from North Carolina to Alabama, whereas that of the Upland Dusky Shiner is restricted to two disjunct populations in the upper and lower Piedmont of the Santee River drainage; a zone of intergradation separates the two subspecies. For the upland subspecies, the type locality is Roses Creek, a Foothills stream where the population in the 1940s was separated by six major hydroelectric reservoirs and more than 175 river miles from the next closest population near the North Carolina-South Carolina state line.

Currently, the two subspecies and five races designated by Hubbs and Raney are not in general usage by ichthyologists. The Upland Dusky Shiner has not been collected from its type locality since the six original type specimens were collected in 1946. This raises the questions: “Did the specimens actually come from Roses Creek” and “What might have happened to this subspecies since then?” The history of the discovery of the Upland Dusky Shiner, the sleuthing of its type locality, its subsequent fate, and its true identity are baffling stories unto themselves. In the presentation we tried to make sense of it all. You can try to make sense of it too by downloading our PowerPoint presentation: “The Upland Dusky Shiner, Notropis cummingsae collis Hubbs and Raney 1951, a Mistaken Collection Locality, a Subspecies Extirpated from Its Type Locality, or Something Else?” (Upland Dusky Shiner PowerPoint pdf).

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