The Desert Pupfish of the Salton Sea: A Synthesis
Entry ID: uc_ssa_desertpupfish

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Summary
Abstract: The desert pupfish (Cyprinodontidae, Cyprinodon macularius (Baird and Girard
1853)) is the only fish endemic to the Salton Sink. There are two subspecies in
the United States: a Colorado River form (C. m. macularius Baird and Girard)
and a Quitobaquito form (C. m. eremus Miller and Fuiman) (Marsh and Sada 1993).
This report focuses on C. m. macularius, whose wild populations occur around
the Salton Sea (Marsh and Sada 1993). Information was obtained from a
literature search conducted by the California Department of Fish and Game
(CDFG), an internet search, and from the library at the Bureau of Reclamation
in Denver, Colorado. Recent unpublished survey data were obtained from CDFG.

Desert pupfish were once widespread and abundant in portions of southern
Arizona and southeastern California, United States, and northern Baja
California and Sonora, Mexico (Miller 1943). In 1859, Girard first reported
desert pupfish in California in some saline springs in Imperial County (Jordan,
Evermann, and Clark 1930). After the Salton Sink was flooded in 1904-1907 by
diversion of the Colorado River, desert pupfish colonized what is now known as
the Salton Sea (Thompson and Bryant 1920) and was reported as "abundant" by
several authors (Coleman 1929; Cowles 1934; Barlow 1958, 1961; Walker 1961).
However, only Barlow (1961) provided an estimate of 10,000 individuals in a
single shoreline pool of the Salton Sea. Collections made by CDFG and others,
including Schoenherr (1979), in the late 1950s to early 1960s indicated that
desert pupfish abundance at the Salton Sea was severely declining (Black 1980).
In surveys conducted by CDFG in 1978-1979, desert pupfish accounted for 3
percent of the total catch in irrigation drains, 5 percent of the catch from
shoreline pools, and less than 1 percent of the catch from three natural
permanent tributaries and the Salton Sea proper (Black 1980). However, desert
pupfish accounted for 70 percent of the total catch from San Felipe Creek, an
intermittent tributary to the Salton Sea.

The desert pupfish was listed as a California endangered species in1980 (CDFG
1980). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) listed this species and its
critical habitat as endangered in 1986 because of habitat alteration,
introductions of exotic species and contaminants, and other habitat impacts
(FWS 1986). Designated critical habitat includes San Felipe Creek, Carrizo
Wash, and Fish Creek Wash in Imperial County, California (FWS 1986). Figure 1
shows the general distribution of desert pupfish around the Salton Sea. Current
desert pupfish populations occur in drains directly discharging to the Salton
Sea, in shoreline pools of the Salton Sea, several artificial refugia, and in
desert washes at San Felipe Creek and Salt Creek. Pupfish are not known to
occur in the New or Alamo Rivers because of the high sediment loads, excessive
velocities, and presence of predators (Imperial Irrigation District 1994).

Related URL
Link: VIEW RELATED INFORMATION


Geographic Coverage
 N: 33.5 S: 33.0  E: -115.5  W: -116.0

Data Set Citation
Dataset Originator/Creator: Ron Sutton, Bureau of Reclamation
Dataset Title: The Desert Pupfish of the Salton Sea: A Synthesis
Dataset Release Date: August, 5, 1999
Dataset Release Place: La Quinta, California
Dataset Publisher: Salton Sea Authority
Data Presentation Form: document
Other Citation Details: Prepared for Salton Sea Authority


Temporal Coverage
Start Date: 1991-01-01
Stop Date: 1998-12-31


Location Keywords
CONTINENT > NORTH AMERICA > UNITED STATES OF AMERICA > CALIFORNIA > SALTON SEA


Science Keywords
BIOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATION >ANIMALS/VERTEBRATES >FISH >PUPFISHES    [Definition]
BIOSPHERE >AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS >LAKES >SALINE LAKES    [Definition]
BIOSPHERE >ECOLOGICAL DYNAMICS >SPECIES/POPULATION INTERACTIONS >POPULATION DYNAMICS    [Definition]


ISO Topic Category
BIOTA
INLAND WATERS


Quality
Information was obtained from a literature search conducted by the California
Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), an internet search, and from the library at
the Bureau of Reclamation in Denver, Colorado. Recent unpublished survey data
were obtained from CDFG.


Access Constraints
None


Use Constraints
None


Keywords
literature search
abundance
desert pupfish
endangered species
Salton Sea
Salton Sink
southern Arizona
southeastern California
United States
northern Baja California
Sonora, Mexico


Data Set Progress
COMPLETE


Data Center
Salton Sea Authority, California    [Information]
Data Center URL: http://www.saltonsea.ca.gov/

Data Center Personnel
Name: SALTON SEA AUTHORITY CONTACT
Phone: (760) 564-4888
Fax: (760) 564-5288
Email: info at saltonsea.ca.gov
Contact Address:
Salton Sea Authority
78-401 Highway 111
Suite T
City: La Quinta
Province or State: CA
Postal Code: 92253
Country: USA


Personnel
RON SUTTON
Role: INVESTIGATOR
Phone: (303) 445-2495
Fax: (303) 445-6328
Contact Address:
Bureau of Reclamation
P.O. Box 25007 (D-8210)
City: Denver
Province or State: CO
Postal Code: 80225
Country: USA


TYLER B. STEVENS
Role: DIF AUTHOR
Phone: (301) 614-6898
Fax: 301-614-5268
Email: Tyler.B.Stevens at nasa.gov
Contact Address:
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Global Change Master Directory
City: Greenbelt
Province or State: MD
Postal Code: 20771
Country: USA



Creation and Review Dates
DIF Creation Date: 2003-08-29
Last DIF Revision Date: 2012-12-21
Future DIF Review Date: 2004-08-29

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