Re: NANFA-L-- California Natives - They're All Threatened or

Peter Unmack (peter.lists at)
Wed, 24 Aug 2005 10:38:18 -0500 (CDT)

On Mon, 22 Aug 2005, Jerry Baker wrote:

> I am interested in the San Gabriel River drainage which is home to the
> Santa Ana Sucker, the Santa Ana Speckled Dace, and the Arroyo Chub, as
> well as some listed salamander and frog species. I am looking for
> already captive stocks of any of these fish as my understanding is that
> it is OK to trade specimens that have been legally taken, or are bred
> from legally taken specimens.

I doubt you'll find any pre-listing captive stocks from any of these
species. I've never really heard of anyone keeping any of the western
suckers in captivity, let alone breeding them. The other two species
shouldn't be that hard to breed and raise with a little effort. There may
be several ways to achieve what you are trying to do, although to be
totally upfront it would take a lot of time and effort, and the Feds are
just as likely to say it is too much hassle. Federal permits for anything
listed is a major nightmare for anyone to deal with and academics have a
difficult time of this as well.

> I have located a demonstration garden operated by the County of
> Riverside that has three of these fish species, but I am not so sure
> that they will be willing to just hand over some endangered fish to some
> guy who wants them in his aquarium (for all they know).

I'd be wary of doing this because Riverside County doesn't have permission
to pass fish on to you (in all likelihood). If you get fish from them,
then you approach the authorities, it will become obvious that you have
obtained fish illegally, potentially hurting your chances, and Riverside
County's chances of working with that species.

> I would like to attempt to breed these fish in an aquarium environment
> in order to distribute the offspring for educational displays-in-local
> libraries and schools, not to mention the knowledge that can be gained
> and shared by being able to watch these fish on an hour by hour basis,
> as well as documenting their response to careful manipulation of water
> parameters.

One thing to be wary of here is what temperatures can they tolerate? They
might not do so well in the summer, but that will be very specific to the
population in question.

There are several avenues you could take. First would be to contact local
fish folks with interest in these species (universities, state, federal in
order of who I'd try first). Perhaps locate the recovery plans for the
species in question and see who was involved and who has published
literture on them. Approach those people. Consider messing with
surrogate species. Rhinichthys osculus is a very widespread species, and
isn't listed in most places. This species is massively variable
geographically, but I'd suggest that if you can't breed and raise them
from another population, then you won't succeed with the local population.
But, if you do succeed, then you have a leg to stand on. Be best if you
could legally obtain any fish you use for this preliminary stuff.
Alternatively, try messing with some of the eastern species as Todd
suggested, but it would be much better to find a legal source of R.

Hopefully that might provide you with some avenues to pursue.

Peter Unmack
Canadian River, Oklahoma
/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes
/ Association (NANFA). Comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of NANFA. For more information about NANFA,
/ visit Please make sure all posts to nanfa-l are
/ consistent with the guidelines as per
/ To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get
/ help, visit the NANFA email list home page and archive at