Invasive Species Compendium

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Datasheet

Lucania parva
(rainwater killifish)

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Datasheet

Lucania parva (rainwater killifish)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 22 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Documented Species
  • Host Animal
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Lucania parva
  • Preferred Common Name
  • rainwater killifish
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Chordata
  •       Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •         Class: Actinopterygii
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Lucania parva, commonly known as rainwater killifish, is a small silver to olive green fish which occurs frequently in estuarine waters along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts of North America. Inland populations are common in freshw...

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  • Draft datasheet under review

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Lucania parva (rainwater killifish); adult, Texas, USA.
TitleAdult
CaptionLucania parva (rainwater killifish); adult, Texas, USA.
Copyright©Thomas, C., T.H. Bonner & B.G. Whiteside, 2007. Freshwater fishes of Texas: a field guide. (1st ed.). College Station: Texas A&M University Press - CC BY-NC 3.0
Lucania parva (rainwater killifish); adult, Texas, USA.
AdultLucania parva (rainwater killifish); adult, Texas, USA.©Thomas, C., T.H. Bonner & B.G. Whiteside, 2007. Freshwater fishes of Texas: a field guide. (1st ed.). College Station: Texas A&M University Press - CC BY-NC 3.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Lucania parva Baird and Girard

Preferred Common Name

  • rainwater killifish

Other Scientific Names

  • Cyprinodon parvus Baird and Girard, 1855
  • Limia poecilioides Girard, 1859
  • Limia venusta Girard, 1858
  • Lucania affinis Girard, 1859
  • Lucania venusta Girard, 1858

Local Common Names

  • Mexico: sardinilla de lluvia

Summary of Invasiveness

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Lucania parva, commonly known as rainwater killifish, is a small silver to olive green fish which occurs frequently in estuarine waters along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts of North America. Inland populations are common in freshwater rivers of Florida and freshwater to saline waters of the Rio Grande drainage in New Mexico and Texas. Populations were incidentally introduced west of the Rocky Mountains via stocking of oysters and freshwater sportfishes (Hubbs and Miller, 1965). To date, L. parva does not seem to be expanding rapidly beyond its initial point of introduction.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Chordata
  •             Subphylum: Vertebrata
  •                 Class: Actinopterygii
  •                     Order: Cyprinodontiformes
  •                         Family: Cyprinodontidae
  •                             Genus: Lucania
  •                                 Species: Lucania parva

Description

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L. parva can grow up to 62 mm standard length (Gunter, 1950). It is relatively deep bodied (body depth contained four times in standard length) and laterally compressed. Mouth is supraterminal with a protruding lower jaw and conical teeth. Eye is large and exceeds length of snout. Single dorsal fin has 9-13 soft rays and anal fin has 15-18 soft rays. Caudal fin is rounded. Body coloration is silver to olive green with a narrow mid-dorsal stripe (sometimes missing). Scales are outlined with black pigments. Prominent black bar is in anterior portion of dorsal fin in breeding males.

See Hassan-Williams and Bonner (2013) for a detailed description.

Distribution

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Native range of L. parva extends along Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastal drainages of North America from Massachusetts, USA, to Quintana Roo, Mexico (Hubbs et al., 2008). L. parva is typically restricted near coastal waters in saltwater, brackish, and freshwater habitats, although extending considerable distances upstream within freshwater rivers of Florida (Fuller and Noa, 2008), New Mexico, and Texas (Hubbs and Miller, 1965). Native status is assumed within inland waters of the San Antonio River (Hubbs et al., 2008) and Rio Grande drainage, including the Pecos River (Hubbs and Miller, 1965). Sublette et al. (1990) considers L. parva native to the Pecos River in New Mexico but introduced into the Rio Grande of New Mexico.

Introduced populations are reported in several Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific drainages of USA.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

North America

MexicoPresentNativeEstuarine; States boarding Gulf of Mexico to Quintana Roo boarding the Caribbean Sea
United StatesPresentPresent based on regional distribution.
-AlabamaPresentNativeEstuarine
-CaliforniaPresentIntroducedEstuarine: San Francisco Estuary; Newport Bay. Freshwater: Vail Lake; lagoon on UC-Santa Barbara campus; Irvine Lake
-ConnecticutPresentNativeEstuarine
-FloridaPresentNativeFreshwater and estuarine
-GeorgiaPresentNativeEstuarine
-LouisianaPresentNativeEstuarine
-MarylandPresentNativeEstuarine
-MassachusettsPresentNativeEstuarine
-MississippiPresentNativeEstuarine
-NevadaPresentIntroducedBlue Lake wetlands, boarding Nevada and Utah (collected in 2006)
-New JerseyPresentFreshwater: Great Swamp. Estuarine
-New MexicoPresentNativePecos River, Rio Grande drainage; Rio Grande of New Mexico
-New YorkPresentNativeEstuarine
-North CarolinaPresentNativeEstuarine
-OregonPresentIntroducedEstuarine: Yaqunia Bay
-Rhode IslandPresentNativeEstuarine
-South CarolinaPresentNativeEstuarine
-TexasPresentEstuarine and freshwater reaches of the Pecos River and Rio Grande. Introduced into the Colorado River drainage. Assumed native to the upper reaches of the San Antonio River
-UtahPresentIntroducedTimpie Springs and Blue Lake wetlands. Taken from Blue Lake wetland complex as recent as 2006, Mosquito Willie Springs as recent as 2012; Mona Springs as recent as 2015. No recent collections from Timpie Springs
-VirginiaPresentNativeEstuarine

History of Introduction and Spread

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In the USA, introduced populations in Irvine Lake (California), Blue Lake (Nevada and Utah), Timpie Springs (Utah) are thought to be incidental and coincide with stocking of sportfishes provided by fish hatcheries located in New Mexico (1930-1960; Hubbs and Miller, 1965; J Watson, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, USA, personal communication, 2016). Introduced populations in San Francisco Estuary (California) and Yaqunia Bay (Oregon) are thought to be incidental and coincide with stocking of oysters taken from estuaries in New York and New Jersey (1870-1940) or incidental and from ballast water (Hubbs and Miller, 1965). More recent introductions in other areas of California (Newport Bay; various inland waters) and Utah (Mosquito Willie Springs, Mona Springs) are unknown. Introduced into Great Swamp of New Jersey prior to 1978 (Stiles, 1978) and Colorado River drainage of Texas (Hubbs et al., 2008) for reasons not stated.

Introductions

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Introduced toIntroduced fromYearReasonIntroduced byEstablished in wild throughReferencesNotes
Natural reproductionContinuous restocking
California New York 1870-1960 Aquaculture (pathway cause) Yes No Hubbs and Miller (1965) Estuarine from contaminated stocks of oysters, but possibly from contaminated ballast water; Freshwater from contaminated stocks of sportfishes
California New Jersey 1870-1960 Aquaculture (pathway cause) Yes No Hubbs and Miller (1965) Estuarine from contaminated stocks of oysters, but possibly from contaminated ballast water; Freshwater from contaminated stocks of sportfishes
California New Mexico 1870-1960 Aquaculture (pathway cause) Yes No Hubbs and Miller (1965) Estuarine from contaminated stocks of oysters, but possibly from contaminated ballast water; Freshwater from contaminated stocks of sportfishes
Nevada New Mexico 1930-1960 Fisheries (pathway cause) Yes No Hubbs and Miller (1965) Contaminated stocks of sportfishes
Utah New Mexico 1930-1960 Fisheries (pathway cause) Yes No Hubbs and Miller (1965) Contaminated stocks of sportfishes initially; reasons for subsequent spread are unknown

Risk of Introduction

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Introductions are attributed primarily to contaminated stocks of oysters and sportfishes, based on 1870-1960s protocols for transplanting organisms. Current stocking protocols and governmental oversight minimize the risk of future L. parva introductions.

Habitat

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L. parva associates with vegetated areas (Jordan, 2002) in brackish ponds and sloughs of bay systems and is less abundant in salt flats and bay shorelines (Gunter, 1950). In Texas, USA, L. parva is locally abundant (>45% in relative abundance) in saline reaches (>10,000 µS/cm) of the Pecos River and associates with slackwater habitats, vegetation, and silt substrates. Though some tributaries and mainstream reaches of the Pecos River are naturally saline, stream flow modifications and water diversions contribute to greater salt content in portions of the mainstem Pecos River by removing freshwater inflows before reaching the naturally occurring saline zones and therefore leaving the salt water springs as the primary base flow (Hoagstrom, 2009). L. parva and other euryhaline fishes are the dominant forms in the now hyper saline reach of the Pecos River before freshwater inflows from Edwards-Trinity aquifers dilute saline waters in the lower canyon reach of the Pecos River.

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
BrackishInland saline areas Principal habitat Natural
FreshwaterLakes Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
FreshwaterReservoirs Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
FreshwaterRivers / streams Principal habitat Natural
FreshwaterPonds Secondary/tolerated habitat Productive/non-natural
BrackishEstuaries Principal habitat Natural
BrackishLagoons Principal habitat Natural

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

Berdan et al (2014) assessed genomic architecture of sister taxa L. parva and Lucania goodei. Carson et al. (2015) assessed mDNA diversity with sister taxa Lucania interioris.

Reproductive Biology

Potentially an anadromous species, L. parva move to more saline waters during non-breeding season in the autumn (Hardy, 1978) and into less saline waters during breeding season in spring and summer (Foster, 1967) in the USA. Breeding season might begin as early as February within Texas estuaries and extend into July (Gunter, 1950; Simpson and Gunter, 1956). In inland waters of New Mexico, breeding season is from spring through autumn (Sublette et al., 1990). Males court females with a variety of physical displays (e.g. swimming in loops around the female, rubbing of the female abdomen with his head) near vegetation (McLane, 1955; Foster 1967). Females deposit ova (mean=25 (McLane, 1955); up to 104, (Hildebrand and Schroeder, 1928; Hardy, 1978)) with mucous filaments to aid in attaching on vegetation (Foster, 1967). The courting male deposits sperm. Males and females spawn multiple times during the breeding season (Hardy, 1978). Eggs hatch within 6 days (Foster, 1967). Age-0 fish become sexually mature within 3-5 months at a size of 25 mm in total length (Hildebrand and Schroeder, 1928).

Longevity

Likely 1-2 years.

Population Size and Density

L. parva is rare <0.1% in relative abundance) in San Francisco Bay (Matern et al., 2002). Abundant (>45% in relative abundance) in portions of the Pecos River (T. Bonner, Texas State University, USA, author’s unpublished data).

Nutrition

Primarily a pelagic and surface feeder, L. parva feeds crustaceans (subclass Copepoda) and dipterans, especially mosquito (Family Culicidae) larvae and pupae (Simpson and Gunter, 1956; Harrington and Harrington, 1961). They can consume small annelids and molluscs (found in one stomach each; Simpson and Gunter, 1956).

Environmental Requirements

L. parva is a euryhaline species, generally taken from estuarine waters ranging from 0.7-24 ppt (Gunter, 1950; Miller and Guillory, 1980). In a Mississippi estuary, USA, L. parva were more associated with sites near salinities at 4 ppt than sites with lower and greater salinities (Peterson and Ross, 1991). The species has however been collected from full strength seawater (32 ppt) and found surviving at 60 ppt during a dry-down event (Rebecca Fuller, personal communication).

A self-sustaining population exists within freshwaters (800-1,375 mS/cm) of Independence Creek, a tributary of the Pecos River in Texas, USA (Bonner et al., 2005; Watson, 2006). Large numbers of L. parva were taken from the Pecos River at water temperatures of 32°C.

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
BS - Steppe climate Tolerated > 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation
BW - Desert climate Tolerated < 430mm annual precipitation
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
42 20

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Introduced and native populations co-exist with a large number of predatory organisms (e.g. bass, sunfishes, catfishes, and reptiles). L. parva are likely preyed upon by wading birds, since fundulids, in general, are a major food sources for wading birds (Kneib, 1982).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
AquacultureAccidental with culturing of oysters (presumably) Yes Hubbs and Miller (1965)
FisheriesAccidental stocking along with sportfishes Yes Hubbs and Miller (1965)

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Aquaculture stockEggs, larvae, adults Yes Hubbs and Miller (1965)
Water Yes Hubbs and Miller (1965)

Impact: Economic

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Likely limited, if any, economic impact with introduced populations of L. parva. L. parva consumption of mosquito larvae might provide some economic value as mosquito control.

Impact: Environmental

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Limited environmental impacts are associated with introduced populations of L. parva. Occurrence of L. parva might be related to declines in numbers of the least chub Iotichthys phlegethontis in Mona Springs (Utah, USA) because of similarities in diet and potential for competition (US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2014).

Risk and Impact Factors

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Invasiveness
  • Has a broad native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerant of shade
  • Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
  • Has high reproductive potential

Detection and Inspection

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L. parva is sufficiently distinct and detectable among sportfish. Eggs and larvae on vegetation or oysters are distinct with close inspection.

Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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Members of the Family Fundulidae are typically distinct from other families within Order Cyprinodontiformes. However, L. parva, with silvery to light green color, scales outlined with pigments, and lacking lateral bars, resembles Gambusia (Poeciliidae).

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

Prevention

Public awareness

Public awareness is important in preventing establishment of new populations and further introductions of L. parva.

Eradication

Eradication efforts are not known to be underway at this time.

Control

Physical/mechanical control

High relative abundances at some locations, along with eggs attached to substrate, likely preclude successful control by physical/mechanical methods.

Chemical control

Piscicide, such as rotenone, likely is effective to control and eradicate in small water bodies.

Gaps in Knowledge/Research Needs

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Lingering questions exist about native status of L. parva in inland waters of the Rio Grande in New Mexico, USA. Information is lacking on the effects of L. parva on native species within inland waters and Pacific coast waters.

References

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Allen LG, Yoklavich MM, Cailliet GM, Horn MH, 2006. Bays and Estuaries. In: The Ecology of Marine Fishes: California and Adjacent Waters [ed. by Allen LG, Ponderlla DJ, Horn MH]. USA: University of California Press, 119-148.

Berdan EL, Kozak GM, Ming R, Rayburn AL, Kiehart R, Fuller RC, 2014. Insight into genomic changes accompanying divergence: genetic linkage maps and synteny of Lucania goodei and L. parva reveal a Robertsonian fusion. G3, 4:1363-1372.

Bonner TH, Thomas C, Williams CS, Karges JP, 2005. Temporal assessment of a west Texas stream fish assemblage. The Southwestern Naturalist, 50:74-106.

Carson EW, Souza V, Espinosa-Perez H, Turner TF, 2015. Mitochondrial DNA diversity and phylogeography of Lucania Interioris inform biodiversity conservation in the Cuatro Cienegas basin, Mexico. Western North American Naturalis, 75:200-208.

Deacon JE, Williams JE, 1984. Annotated list of the fishes of Nevada. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 97(1):103-118.

Dill WA, Cordone AJ, 1997. History and status of introduced fishes in California, 1871-1996. Fish Bulletin. State of California, USA: Department of Fish and Game, 178.

Foster NR, 1967. Comparative studies on the biology of killifishes (Pisces: Cyprinodontidae). PhD dissertation. Ithaca, New York, USA: Cornell University.

Fuller RC, Noa LA, 2008. Distribution and stability of sympatric populations of Lucania goodei and L. parva across Florida. Copeia, 3:699-707.

Gunter G, 1950. Distributions and abundance of fishes on the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, with life history notes. Publications of the Institute of Marine Science, University of Texas, 1. 89-101.

Hardy Jr JD, 1978. Development of Fishes of the Mid-Atlantic Bight: an atlas of egg, larval and juvenile stages. Volume 2: Anguillidae through Syngnathidae. Solomons, Maryland, USA: US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Harrington Jr RW, Harrington ES, 1961. Food selection among fishes invading a high subtropical salt marsh; from onset of flooding through the progress of a mosquito brood. Ecology, 42:646-666.

Hildebrand SF, Schroeder WS, 1928. Fishes of Chesapeake Bay. Bulletin of the US Bureau of Fisheries, 43:1-336.

Hoagstrom CW, 2009. Causes and impacts of salinization in the lower Pecos River. Great Plains Research, 19:27-44.

Hoffman GL, 1967. Parasites of North American Freshwater fishes. Berkeley, California, USA: University of California Press, 486 pp.

Hubbs C, Edwards RJ, Garrett GP, 2008. An annotated checklist of the freshwater fishes of Texas, with keys to identification of species, second edition, 43(4):1-87.

Hubbs CL, Miller RR, 1965. Studies of cyprinodont fishes. XXII. Variation in Lucania parva, its establishment in western United States, and description of a new species from Interior Basin in Coahuila, Mexico. Miscellaneous Publications/University of Michigan, Museum of Zoology, 127. 1-104.

Jordan F, 2002. Field and laboratory evaluation of habitat use by rainwater killifish (Lucania parva) in the St. John's River estuary, Florida. Estuaries, 25:288-295.

Kneib RT, 1982. The effects of predation by wading birds (Ardeidae) and blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) on the population size structure of the common Mummichog, Fundulus heteroclitus. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 14:159-165.

Matern SA, Moyle PB, Pierce LC, 2002. Native and alien fishes in a California estuarine marsh: twenty-one years of changing assemblages. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 131:797-816.

McGinnis SM, 2006. Field Guide to freshwater fishes of California, revised edition., USA: University of California Press.

McLane WM, 1955. Fishes of the St. Johns River System. PhD dissertation. Gainesville, USA: University of Florida.

Miller C, Guillory V, 1980. Proceedings of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, 34. 223-233.

Peterson MS, Ross ST, 1991. Dynamics of littoral fishes and decapods along a coastal river-estuarine gradient. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, 33:467-483.

Ross ST, 2001. The Inland Fishes of Mississippi. University Press of Mississippi, Jackson, 624 pp.

Simpson DG, Gunter G, 1956. Notes on habitats, systematic characters and life histories of Texas saltwater cyprinodontes. Tulane Studies in Zoology, 4:115-134.

Stiles EW, 1978. Vertebrates of New Jersey. Somerset, New Jersey, USA: EW Stiles Publishers.

Sublette JE, Hatch MD, Sublette M, 1990. The fishes of New Mexico. Albuquerque, New Mexico: University New Mexico Press, 393 pp.

Tyler AV, 1963. Cleaning symbiosis between the stickleback and rainwater fish. Underwater Naturalist, 1. 18-19.

US Fish and Wildlife Service, 2014. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-month finding on the petition to list Least Chub as an endangered or threatened species; proposed rule. Federal Register, 79. 51042-51066.

Watson JM, 2006. Patterns and habitat associations of a desert spring fish assemblage and responses to a large-scale flood. MS thesis. San Marcos, USA: Texas State University.

Distribution References

Allen LG, Yoklavich MM, Cailliet GM, Horn MH, 2006. Bays and Estuaries. In: The Ecology of Marine Fishes: California and Adjacent Waters, [ed. by Allen LG, Ponderlla DJ, Horn MH]. USA: University of California Press. 119-148.

CABI, Undated. Compendium record. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status inferred from regional distribution. Wallingford, UK: CABI

CABI, Undated b. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Dill W A, Cordone A J, 1997. Fish Bulletin, State of California, USA: Department of Fish and Game. 414 pp.

Fuller RC, Noa LA, 2008. Distribution and stability of sympatric populations of Lucania goodei and L. parva across Florida. In: Copeia, 3 699-707.

Hubbs C, Edwards RJ, Garrett GP, 2008. An annotated checklist of the freshwater fishes of Texas, with keys to identification of species, second edition., 43 (4) 1-87.

Hubbs CL, Miller RR, 1965. Studies of cyprinodont fishes. XXII. Variation in Lucania parva, its establishment in western United States, and description of a new species from Interior Basin in Coahuila, Mexico. In: Museum of Zoology, 127 Miscellaneous Publications/University of Michigan, Museum of Zoology. 1-104.

Matern SA, Moyle PB, Pierce LC, 2002. Native and alien fishes in a California estuarine marsh: twenty-one years of changing assemblages. In: Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, 131 797-816.

Stiles EW, 1978. Vertebrates of New Jersey., Somerset, New Jersey, USA: EW Stiles Publishers.

Sublette J E, Hatch M D, Sublette M, 1990. The fishes of New Mexico. Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA: University New Mexico Press. 393 pp.

Principal Source

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Draft datasheet under review

Contributors

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07/042016 Original text by:

Timothy Bonner, Texas State University, USA

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