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Full text of "Endangered wildlife of California"




The Resource., Agency 

DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME 

Sacramento, California 



Photo credits 

p. 10 G. R. Stewart, p. 12 Dave Schaub, p. 14 John Borneman from 
National Audubon Society, p. 18 U.S. Forest Service, p.20 Frank 
Gress, p.24 Robert Martin, p.26 Herb Clarke, p.28 Dana Echols, 
p.30 Dave Dick, p.38 W^y/?e Deason, p.40 W./. Fa/feff, p.42 Phil 
Pister, p.44 Z>. Vanicek, p.46 Z>. Vanicek, p.50 7erry / Af/7/s, p.52 
/0A0 Brode, p. 54Phil Pister, p.56 Leonard Fisk 

Cover Photo: Ze&tf a/7tf 7e/77 and Chicks 



For a complete list of available publications on fish and wildlife in 
California, write Conservation Education, Department of Fish and 
Game, 1416 Ninth St., Sacramento, CA 95814. 



ENDANGERED 

WILDLIFE 
of California 



Contributors 

Birds and Mammals 

Alan Craig, associate wildlife manager biologist 
John Gustafson, assistant wildlife manager biologist 
Howard Leach, wildlife management supervisor 
Robert Mallette, wildlife management supervisor 

Fish, Reptiles and Amphibians 

John Brode, associate fishery biologist 
Louis Courtois, associate fishery biologist 
Steve Nicola, senior fishery biologist 



State of California 
The Resources Agency 

DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME 

Sacramento, California 



From the collection of 




International 

Bird Rescue 

Research Center 

Cordelia, California 



in association with 



n 



9pE 

L 



m 



o Pre linger 

library 



San Francisco, California 
2006 



FOREWORD 

This booklet is published in response to an increased public interest 
in endangered species. The California Department of Fish and Game, 
which is responsible for the welfare of more than 1,000 species offish 
and wildlife in the state, hopes this publication will stimulate the 
reader to join in the effort to protect endangered species. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2007 with funding from 

Microsoft Corporation 



http://www.archive.org/details/endangeredwildliOOcalirich 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Page 

Introduction 7 

MAMMALS 

Morro Bay kangaroo rat 10 

Salt marsh harvest mouse 12 

BIRDS 

California condor 14 

American peregrine falcon 16 

Bald eagle 18 

California brown pelican 20 

California least tern 22 

California clapper rail 24 

Light-footed clapper rail 26 

Belding's Savannah sparrow 28 

REPTILES 

Blunt-nosed leopard lizard 30 

San Francisco garter snake 32 

AMPHIBIANS 

Santa Cruz long-toed salamander 34 

Desert slender salamander 36 

FISH 

Colorado squawfish 38 

Thicktail chub 40 

Tecopa pupfish 42 

Bonytail chub 44 

Humpback sucker 46 

Shortnose sucker 48 

Lost River sucker 50 

Unarmored threespine stickleback 52 

Owens tui chub 54 

Owens pupfish 56 

Mohave chub 58 

List of Rare Species in California 60 

List of Extinct Species in California 61 

Federal List of California Endangered Species 62 

5 



INTRODUCTION 

In the long history of Planet Earth, many forms of life have come 
and gone. A survey of plants and animals that survive today is like 
reading one chapter in the middle of a book. There are hints of what 
has gone on before, and signs of what may happen in the future. But 
it is not the complete story. 

We know from the study of fossils that Earth was a vastly different 
place in the past. Great seas once covered what is now desert. Huge 
dinosaurs ruled the land and giant winged creatures patrolled the 
skies. Glaciers came down from the north, carving giant valleys and 
whittling boulders into pebbles. All of this has changed, and in its 
unbelievably slow, steady pace, Earth continues to change. The crea- 
tures of Earth, totally dependent on their environment, have changed 
also. Those able to adapt to great climatic and geologic changes have 
survived. Others perished. 

The monarch of the world today is man. His ability to alter his 
surroundings for his own benefit is unsurpassed by any other form of 
life which lives, or has ever lived, on this planet. His capacity to reason 
and to communicate appears to be unique and it has been said his 
ability to mourn the passing of another life form is something new 
under the sun. 

Man-made changes 

Man has altered his environment by building great cities, convert- 
ing arid land to agriculture by irrigation, constructing highways, 
dams, shopping centers and sprawling housing projects. In so doing 
he has taken a hand at shaping the future of the world's plant and 
animal life. Subtle changes in climate and the land continue, but these 
are overshadowed by the abrupt and often traumatic changes made 
by man. 

Plant and animal life has had some difficulty adapting to these 
sudden changes in the environment wrought by man. Since 1600, 
when accurate record-keeping began, more than 200 animal species 
have ceased to exist. The causes of their disappearances are varied, but 
nearly all are at least partially related to the activities of man. 

This is a book about endangered species — animals which are likely 
to become extinct if something is not done. More specifically, it is 
about endangered species in California. We know of 25 such animals, 
ranging from the majestic bald eagle to the tiny blunt-nosed leopard 

7 



lizard. There are probably more, because our knowledge of the world 
around us is still limited. 

To determine the status of a species, there are five questions which 
can be applied. If the answer is "yes" to any of the following questions, 
the species (or subspecies) under study can be considered endan- 
gered: 

1. Does the mortality rate consistently exceed the birth rate? 

2. Is the species unable to adapt to environmental change? 

3. Is its habitat threatened by destruction or serious disturbance? 

4. Does environmental pollution threaten its survival? 

5. Is its survival threatened by the unwanted introduction of other 
species through predation, competition or disease? 

The term "endangered species" is relatively new. In 1966, the Inter- 
national Union for Conservation of Nature met in Switzerland to 
publish the first list of rare and endangered animals. Prior to then, 
thoughtful men were able to stop the slaughter of buffalo, tule elk and 
other animals that were being wiped out by people who felt nature was 
an infinite resource. Other creatures, like the passenger pigeon, did 
not fare so well. They were extinct before most people had time to 
miss them. 

We, the people, are still in the process of considering the conse- 
quences of making a particular animal extinct. We don't really know 
what effect the passing of the leopard lizard, for example, would have 
on the rest of the world. Most of us, living in an urbanized society, 
have never seen an endangered species. So why should we care? 

Why save endangered species? 

An argument for protecting endangered species is based on the 
"web of life." All plant and animal life is interconnected in complex 
ways which man does not yet fully understand. Some people believe 
that to remove one or more of the links in the web of life is to threaten 
the entire system. Others argue that by the time an animal reaches the 
point of being endangered, it no longer has a significant part in 
interdependent relationships we call an ecosystem. 

Another argument for endangered species is based on the potential 
value of animals and plants in medical, agricultural and industrial 
operations. Many benefits have been realized and others no doubt will 
be found in the future. 

A growing number of people support the preservation of endan- 

8 



gered species because they feel that wildlife in its natural habitats adds 
to the quality of human life. Biologists tell us that the health of wild 
animals is a good indicator of the health of the ecosytem. Even man 
needs a healthy planet on which to live. 

Indeed, the quality of life may be better because we are able to see 
deer running through the forest and hawks gliding in circles above the 
land. But not everyone has an opportunity to see the deer and the 
hawk. Few will ever see a bald eagle or a peregrine falcon. For many 
of us, unfortunately, quality of life has nothing to do with nature. 

There is also the notion that we have an ethical commitment to 
other forms of life. Even if a given species of animal has no value to 
humankind, it should be conserved because it exists. In fact, it may 
have existed before the coming of man. 

Current governmental policy in this country and others is to protect 
rather than to deliberately make any species extinct. Human beings 
definitely have the ability to eliminate a species forever. 

The grizzly bear, the jaguar and the wolf are now extinct in Califor- 
nia. The California condor is nearly gone and the blunt-nosed leopard 
lizard is fighting for survival. 

The importance of habitat 

Perhaps the best action which can be taken to ensure survival of a 
species is to protect its habitat. Without suitable living space, no 
animal can survive. To preserve at least some of the land in its natural 
state, the California Department of Fish and Game and other public 
agencies have been purchasing parcels throughout the state. The es- 
tablishment of ecological reserves does much to assure wildlife sur- 
vival, expecially in areas of critical habitat which are important to the 
survival of rare and endangered species. 

Funding for work on endangered species comes from a variety of 
sources. Revenue from personalized license plates, special appropria- 
tions from the legislature, federal grants, and public donations have 
been spent on projects to help endangered species. 

There is much work to be done. With continuing public interest and 
support, the state and private interests will work together in providing 
protection for all wildlife and in conserving habitat essential to the 
survival of endangered species in California. This will be our contribu- 
tion to the concept of Planet Earth as a place where all life forms may 
exist in concert, if not always in harmony. 



MORRO BAY KANGAROO RAT 

Dipodomys heermanni morroensis 




Description 

The Morro Bay kangaroo rat is distinct from the many kangaroo 
rats found in the desert and arid areas of California. 

Kangaroo rats are so named because they hop about in the manner 
of a kangaroo. They are brown and white in color, have large hind 
feet, small front feet and an extremely long tail. Dark coloration and 
lack of a complete white hip stripe distinguish the Morro Bay kanga- 
roo rat from other subspecies of kangaroo rats. 

Distribution 

The Morro Bay kangaroo rat, as its name suggests, lives at the south 
end of Morro Bay in San Luis Obispo County. Its habitat is a coastal 
shrub plant community of sandy open spaces, in which it burrows and 
forages for food. 



10 



Life History 

Kangaroo rats, like many small mammals, remain underground 
during the day and come out at night. Frequently, they can be seen 
scurrying across the road as one drives through the desert areas at 
night. The presence of Morro Bay kangaroo rat is best determined by 
finding active burrows, and by tracks and tail markings in sandy 
pathways. 

Normally, three or four young are born in May or June. In some 
years, the Morro Bay kangaroo rat has two litters. Kangaroo rats feed 
largely on seeds, which they collect and put in pouches along either 
side of their jaws and then store in caches surrounding their burrows 
until food is needed. They are preyed upon by a number of natural 
enemies including foxes, bobcats, snakes and owls. Of special threat 
to the Morro Bay kangaroo rat are house cats, which are increasing 
in numbers as they arrive with families occupying new houses built 
near the remaining kangaroo rat habitat. 

Status 

The Morro Bay kangaroo rat is one of the most endangered species 
in California. The rapid growth of the cities of Baywood Park and Los 
Osos is destroying the habitat essential to the survival of this species. 

Efforts are being made to acquire and set aside within Montana de 
Oro State Park sufficient habitat to assure survival of the Morro Bay 
kangaroo rat. Critical habitat bordering the state park has been pur- 
chased by the Department of Fish and Game and established as a 
reserve for the Morro Bay kangaroo rat. 



11 



SALT MARSH HARVEST MOUSE 

Reithrodontomys raviventris 




Description 

The salt marsh harvest mouse is a unique little rodent the size of 
a house mouse. It can be distinguished by its beautiful reddish colored 
hair, bicolored tail and grooved incisors. 

Distribution 

While harvest mice are not uncommon in California, the salt marsh 
harvest mouse is found only in salt marshes bordering San Francisco 
Bay. In many areas along the bay this habitat is found only as narrow 
bands of salt marsh. 

Life History 

The salt marsh harvest mouse is the only rodent which spends its 
entire life in a salt marsh. It evolved to subsist on highly salt-tolerant 
plants, to drink salt water, and to exist in a hostile environment 
influenced by tides. Here, in dense pickleweed and cordgrass, the salt 
marsh harvest mouse has existed, reproduced, and met its life needs 
without evolving into a truly aquatic mammal as have other rodents 
such as the beaver and muskrat. 

Like most small rodents, this harvest mouse has an extended breed- 
ing season. Three or four young comprise a normal litter and are cared 



12 



for by the female until they leave the nest in a few weeks. Natural 
enemies include whitetailed kites, marsh hawks, owls and herons. 

Status 

Contnual destruction of salt marshes by land fill and diking are 
major factors contributing to decline of this species. However, recent 
acquisitions of tidelands by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California 
Departir-ent of Fish and Game, City of Palo Alto, and independent 
conservation organizations are insuring its continued survival. 

Preservation of existing salt marshes bordering San Francisco Bay 
and man cement of these through normal tidal flows are the keys to 
the survnal of the salt marsh harvest mouse. 



13 



CALIFORNIA CONDOR 

Gymnogyps californianus 




Description 

The California condor is the largest soaring land bird in North 
America. An adult may have a wing span of nine to nine and one half 
feet and may weigh more than 20 pounds. The adult condor is distin- 
guished from the turkey vulture and golden eagle by the white trian- 
gular shaped patch under each wing and its bare orange head. 

Distribution 

Once present in much of western North America, the California 
condor is now largely confined to the rugged mountains surrounding 
the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley in California. During the 
summer condors range northward into the Sierra Nevada foothills 
and the coast range. There have been unconfirmed reports of condors 
being seen in Baja California, Mexico. 



14 



Life History 

The California condor is a relic of the ice age, probably never very 
numerous. Their numbers are dwindling slowly to a point of near- 
extinction. While condors live as long as 45 years, they have an 
extremely low reproductive rate. They mature at five to six years and 
are thought to mate for life. 

In early February a nest site is selected on a remote cliff. The female 
lays a pale green egg which is incubated for 42 days. It is five to seven 
months before the young bird is fledged and even then it depends on 
its parents for food for another five to seven months. Because of the 
long period of incubation and parental care of the young, a pair of 
condors normally nest only every other year. 

Like other vultures, condors eat carrion. They feed chiefly on dead 
livestock, deer, and even ground squirrels which they search out by 
flying long distances from preferred roosting sites. An unforgettable 
sight is an effortlessly soaring condor, riding the thermal currents, as 
it must have done long before man trespassed on its territory. 

Status 

Unfortunately, the California condor appears incapable now of 
producing a sufficient number of young to maintain even its present 
population of less than 30 birds. Scientists feel that four to six young 
birds must fledge each year in order for the condor to survive. Current 
production is less than two birds each year. 

Considerable effort has been devoted to preserving the condor. 
Important nesting and roosting areas have been acquired or set aside 
in condor sanctuaries through the cooperative efforts of the U. S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, U. S. Forest Service, California Department of 
Fish and Game, and National Audubon Society. U. S. Forest Service 
regulations protect known nest sites and areas of condor concentra- 
tions from human disturbance and discharge of firearms. Condors 
may have to be bred in captivity to assure continued survival and to 
produce young which can be returned to the wild. 



15 



AMERICAN PEREGRINE FALCON 

Falco peregrin us an a turn 




Description 

The peregrine falcon, or duck hawk, is a member of the falcon 
family. It is larger than the familiar American kestrel or sparrow 
hawk, having a wing span of slightly more than three feet. The adult 
has slate-gray upper body feathers, narrow barring on the belly, breast 
and flanks, and black cap and cheek patches, which distinguish it 
from other hawks, including its close relative, the prairie falcon. 
While in flight, peregrine falcons can be identified by their wing beats 
and pointed wings. 

Distribution 

The American peregrine falcon is one of three races, or subspecies, 
native to North America. No longer breeding east of the Rocky 
Mountains, its numbers also are severely reduced in the western 
states. In California, peregrines occur seasonally throughout the state 
but are seen most commonly along the coast, in the Central Valley and 
in surrounding mountains. In 1979, 21 pairs of peregrine falcons were 
known to have nested in California. 



16 



Life History 

The peregrine falcon can fly at great speeds, often reaching 175 
miles per hour in a stoop, or dive. It feeds primarily on birds ranging 
in size from a small warbler to a mallard duck. Observing a peregrine 
falcon chasing a teal or a shorebird can be a dramatic experience. 

Peregrines mate for life. They return each year to the same nest site, 
or eyrie, on a rocky cliff. One such site is Morro Rock, overlooking 
Morro Bay in San Luis Obispo County. This is the only place in North 
America where nesting peregrines can be viewed from a parking lot! 
Morro Rock has been declared an ecological reserve for the peregrine 
falcon, and the area has been posted to prohibit public access. 

Nesting activity begins in early February and by April the female 
has laid two to four eggs. The eggs hatch in 28 to 31 days and the 
young fledge in four to four and one-half weeks. During this time, the 
adult male is busy hunting and bringing food to the female and young. 
Upon fledging, the young birds are closely attended by their parents 
who teach them to hunt and care for themselves. 

Status 

The American peregrine falcon is one of the most endangered 
species. The decline in its numbers since the 1940's has been attributed 
to reproductive failure caused by the widespread use of the pesticide 
DDT. The peregrine falcon, like the California brown pelican, has 
experienced a noticeable increase in reproduction since DDT was 
banned in 1971. Unscrupulous hunters, illegal falconers, and loss of 
nesting areas continue to threaten the recovery of the peregrine falcon 
in California. 

Surveillance of active peregrine falcon eyries is conducted each year 
to assess reproductive success. Critical habitat areas are being deter- 
mined and management plans developed to provide added protection. 
Captive rearing of the species and introduction of young birds to the 
wild is aiding in the recovery of peregrine falcons. 



17 



BALD EAGLE 

Haliaeetus Leucocephalus 




Description 

The bald eagle is our national bird and, next to the American flag, 
our best known national symbol. Except for the California condor, the 
bald eagle is the largest bird of prey in California, with a wing span 
of six and one-half to eight feet. An adult is readily identified by its 
brownish-black body, white head and tail and large yellow hooked 
bill. Unlike the golden eagle, the bald eagle's legs are not feathered 
all the way to its feet. 

Distribution 

The bald eagle is found year-round in California. For most of the 
year, nesting birds occupy well-defined territories. Most of these nest- 
ing sites are located in northern California and are found near large 
streams, lakes and reservoirs. Bald eagles once nested on the Channel 
Islands off California's southern coast. During the winter months 
large numbers of bald eagles migrate from the north and can be found 
over much of the state. 



18 



Life History 

Bald eagles are long-lived and mate for life. Their courtship occurs 
in mid-winter. The bald eagle's nest — a massive stick platform in trees 
20 to 90 feet high — is used year after year. One to three white eggs 
are laid from mid-February to April and are hatched in 35 days. Both 
parents assist in incubating and caring for young which leave the nest 
in eight to ten weeks. 

Bald eagles feed mainly on fish, often boldly taken from other 
raptors such as the osprey. Bald eagles can be seen in late winter 
congregated about streams and rivers feeding on salmon which have 
died after spawning. Kokanee salmon found in some inland lakes of 
California are an important food source. Bald eagles also feed on 
waterfowl, rabbits and deer and livestock, which is mostly in the form 
of carrion. Eagles feeding on road-killed animals are often struck and 
killed by motor vehicles. 

Status 

California's resident bald eagles number about 50 pairs, with a 
winter population in excess of 500 birds. In 1979, there were 41 nests 
occupied by bald eagles producing about one chick per active site. 
Scientists feel that unless improved reproduction and survival of 
young birds occurs, the bald eagle will become extinct. 

Surveillance of nesting bald eagles is conducted each year to deter- 
mine where eagles are nesting and how many young have been pro- 
duced. Management plans provide for protection of these nest sites 
during the nesting period. 



19 



CALIFORNIA BROWN PELICAN 

Pelecanus occidentalis califomicus 




Description 

The brown pelican can be easily recognized by anyone who visits 
California's coast in the summer. It is the only large grayish-brown 
coastal bird with a large pouched bill. It has a wingspread of 90 inches. 
Adults have white heads but the immatures are dark-headed. It flies 
with its head folded back on its neck and shoulders, alternately flap- 
ping its wings and sailing. When feeding, this interesting bird folds its 
wings and plummets into the water after fish, its principal food item. 

Distribution 

The California brown pelican ranges along the Pacific Coast from 
Mexico to Canada in the summer. Some move as far north as British 
Columbia in summer and fall, but most of the birds remain in Mexico. 
About 20,000 frequent California's coast from July through Novem- 
ber. About 100,000 birds are found in the west coast population. 

20 



Life History 

With the exception of a small colony on West Anacapa Island off 
Ventura, California brown pelicans nest on the Mexican coastal is- 
lands off Baja California and in the Sea of Cortez. Huge colonies of 
pelicans congregate and nest on these remote islands, historically free 
of human disturbance. Breeding commences as early as December in 
the southernmost colony. 

Pelicans construct large stick platforms in which they lay three to 
four eggs. Both parents assist in caring for the young and spend many 
hours foraging for fish, mostly anchovies, to feed their young. After 
eight to 10 weeks, the young leave their nest and accompany their 
parents to nearby fishing areas or north along the Pacific Coast. 

Pelicans from Mexico begin to appear along the California coast in 
late June, congregating in bays and protected areas along the shore, 
or at good fishing sites. 

Status 

The California brown pelican was declared as endangered because 
the Anacapa Island colony was incapable of reproducing. A 1970 
study showed there had been 552 nesting attempts with only one 
young produced. Pelicans were found to be laying thin-shelled eggs 
which collapsed during incubation. Scientists attributed this to the 
contamination of the food supply with DDT pesticide. Recent ban- 
ning of DDT used in the United States and curtailment of industrial 
discharge of DDT into the ocean has resulted in improved reproduc- 
tion. 

The colonies in Mexico appear to be nesting normally. However, 
an increase in the number of tourists attracted to remote islands in the 
Sea of Cortez could lead to destruction of these colonies. 

Continued curtailment of the use of DDT should result in recovery 
of the Anacapa Island colony. Closure of this island and of breeding 
places in Mexico to human activity during the nesting season may be 
necessary to restore the California brown pelican to nonendangered 
status. 



21 



CALIFORNIA LEAST TERN 

Sterna albifrons brown i 




Description 

The smallest of the terns, this nine inch long bird is recognized by 
its white body, gray wings, black wing tips, white forked tail and 
yellow legs. In breeding plumage, the white forehead contrasts with 
the black cap on the head and the bird's yellow bill has a black tip. 
These markings, the four-part call of the birds at the breeding colony 
and the rapid wing-beat distinguish it from other terns in California. 

Distribution 

From April to September the least tern can be found along the 
Pacific coast from San Francisco Bay to central Baja California, 
Mexico. There are no reliable estimates of the former total population 
of the California least tern, but in 1915 an estimated 1,000 pairs nested 
along a three-mile stretch of beach in San Diego. In recent years their 
numbers have declined to where they nest at about 29 sites from San 
Francisco Bay to the Mexican border. Wintering areas are not known 
although it is believed they frequent the coastal areas of Central and 
South America. 

Life History 

The adults arrive in California on their breeding grounds in April 
22 



and breed in loose colonies. Terns tend to choose a sandy flat area 
with little or no vegetation. The colony nests near a lagoon or estuary 
that provides a small fish food supply. Once a school of small fish — 
such as anchovy, top smelt, shiner perch or killifish — is found, terns 
hover a moment and dive into the water, rising quickly with their 
prey. 

Birds usually lay two or three eggs in a shallow depression in the 
sand. Eggs are buffy in color and are splotched with irregular shaped 
purplish and brownish markings blending with the sand, making them 
difficult to find. An incubation period of about 20 to 25 days begins 
with the laying of the first egg. By the second day after hatching, the 
chicks leave the nest and wander freely through the tern colony. 
Parent birds are busy bringing fish to the young even after they take 
to the air at about three weeks of age. At this time the young start 
to learn the art of flying and catching their own food. Birds leave the 
California coast by September and migrate south to their wintering 
grounds. 

Status 

The California least tern was declared as endangered because of 
continuing destruction of few remaining feeding and nesting habitats, 
and human disturbance and animal predation. About 29 colonies have 
nested in recent years in California. Statewide breeding population 
was estimated at 950 pairs in 1979. About 80 percent of nesting occurs 
in San Diego County. 

Critical nesting and foraging habitats need continued protection 
and nesting sites may need to be placed in public ownership to control 
human activity during the nesting season. Annual population surveys 
are conducted to determine population trends, develop management 
plans for essential habitats and implement the California Least Tern 
Recovery Plan. 



23 



CALIFORNIA CLAPPER RAIL 

Rallus longirostris obsoletus 




Description 

The California clapper rail is a secretive marsh bird and is seldom 
seen far from salt marshes. Like all rails, it is built so that it can slip 
through marsh vegetation. It seldom is seen flying, but when flushed 
out, it flies awkwardly to a landing a short distance away and disap- 
pears into the thick cover. Largest of the rails in California, the 
California clapper rail is hen-sized and has a long bill. It is brown or 
cinnamon in color and has barred flanks and an upturned tail. 

Distribution 

The California clapper rail is a resident of the salt marshes of San 
Francisco Bay, San Pablo Bay, Napa Marsh and Elkhorn Slough, and 
is a casual visitor to Bolinas and Tomales Bays. It has also been 
observed at Humboldt Bay and on South Farallon Island. 



24 



Life History 

This rail's habitat is the tidal marshes that are characterized by 
pickleweed and cordgrass. Here the rail finds an abundance of food 
in the form of crabs, clams and other small crustaceans. Nesting 
occurs from March through June, in nests constructed in thick vegeta- 
tion. The female lays six to 10 eggs which hatch in 23 to 29 days. 
During periods of high tides, California clapper rails are flushed from 
cover and are found roosting in driftwood and debris. They are most 
easily located at these times and are located at other times by their 
distinct chattering calls. 

Status 

The California clapper rail is listed as endangered by the California 
Fish and Game Commission and by the Secretary of the Interior. This 
bird is highly specialized and apparently incapable of adapting to 
environmental change. Major populations occur in the salt marshes 
of south San Francisco Bay and Napa Marsh. Smaller populations 
exist in San Pablo Bay and Elkhorn Slough. The rail is absent as a 
breeder from Suisun Marsh and other brackish marshes along the 
north and central coasts. Marsh reclamation, industrial pollution, and 
the introduced old-world rat are all threatening this rail. 

State and federal laws prohibit the take, possession, and sale of 
California clapper rails. Key habitat areas in San Francisco and San 
Pablo bays have been preserved by the State of California, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, National Audubon Society, Nature Conservan- 
cy, and the City of Palo Alto. The Department of Fish and Game 
conducts annual surveys of clapper rail density and distribution. 



25 



LIGHT-FOOTED CLAPPER RAIL 

Rallus longirostris levipes 




Description 

The light-footed clapper rail is one of three races of the clapper rail 
found in California. Like other clapper rails it is a secretive hen-like 
marsh bird and is found in the salt marshes along the coast of southern 
California. It is brown or cinnamon in color and has barred flanks, 
a short upturned tail and a long bill. This sub-species is slightly darker 
than the other races. This is the largest rail found within its range, 
about the size of an American coot. 

Distribution 

The light-footed clapper rail is a resident of the coastal salt marshes 
from Goleta Slough, Santa Barbara County, south to San Quintin 
Bay, Baja California, Mexico. Breeding populations are limited to 12 
sites in suitable tidal marshes along the California coast. 

26 



Life History 

Like the California clapper rail this race is associated with tidal 
marshes that are characterized by pickleweed and cordgrass. They 
feed on shore crabs and other invetebrates. The nest is a bowl of 
grasses fashioned in locations above the high tide level. Six to 10 eggs 
are laid, buffy in color and spotted. Frequently, during periods of high 
tides, this bird will be found roosting on driftwood and debris. Their 
presence may also be detected by their distinctive call, a series of loud 
clattering "kek" notes. 

Status 

This rail is listed as endangered by the California Fish and Game 
Commission and by the Secretary of Interior. Reductions in its popu- 
lation are attributed to loss of habitat. At present there are approxi- 
mately 8,500 acres of salt marsh habitat, as compared to an estimated 
26,000 acres which once existed between Santa Barbara County and 
the Mexican border. Many of the salt marshes are threatened by 
developments that will reduce or destroy local rail populations. The 
total population of light-footed clapper rails in California was estimat- 
ed to be approximately 250 birds in 1976. 

The light-footed clapper rail is protected under state and federal 
laws. Key habitat in Upper Newport Bay, Bolsa Bay, Mission Bay and 
Tijuana River marshes has been placed in public ownership. Other 
coastal wetland areas are being acquired as ecological reserves. A 
recovery team has been established to develop and implement a plant 
to restore this rail to nonendangered status. 



27 



BELDING'S SAVANNAH SPARROW 

Passerculus sandwichensis beldingi 




Description 

This brown streaked sparrow has a short yellowish stripe above and 
in front of the eyes, a short notched tail, pink legs and a streaked 
breast. A subspecies of the savannah sparrow, it is distinguished from 
others by its smaller size, overall darker color, lack of distinct crown 
stripe, heavy streaking on the throat, breast and sides and its restricted 
distribution. 

Distribution 

The Belding's savannah sparrow lives in tidal estuaries from Gole- 
ta, California, to El Rosario, Baja California, Mexico. It is closely 
associated with pickleweed habitat, subject to tidal influence. 

Life History 

The Belding's savannah sparrow nests along the ocean coastline, 
where plants are wet only by high spring tides and inundated only by 

28 



storm tides. Nesting activities start in March. Nests are constructed 
from pickleweed twigs on the ground or in low branches of dense 
pickleweed. A clutch of three or four eggs is laid in early April. 
Incubation time is estimated to be 10-13 days. Females may raise 
several broods in a season. 

Their diet is varied and consists of small marine invertebrates, 
insects, seeds and tender parts of pickleweed. This subspecies is not 
migratory and during the nonbreeding season the birds disperse daily 
to feeding areas, returning to roost at night in the breeding territory. 

Status 

This sparrow is listed as endangered by the California Fish and 
Game Commission. Developments which are destroying California 
coastal salt marsh habitats threaten its survival. Approximately 1,610 
pairs of birds were found breeding at 28 breeding sites in southern 
California in 1977. 

State law prohibits the take, possession and sale of the Belding's 
savannah sparrow. Some key habitats have been acquired to preserve 
this and other endangered species. Additional areas may need to be 
acquired in public ownership to assure preservation of this endan- 
gered species. 



29 



BLUNT-NOSED LEOPARD LIZARD 

Gambelia silus 




Description 

The blunt-nosed leopard lizard is a robust creature, with a long, 
round tail and a snout that is short and blunt when compared with 
the common leopard lizard ( G. wislizenii) . It can grow to five inches 
long, not including the tail. This lizard has gray or brown coloration 
above with whitish crossbars on the back and tail. Dark, leopard-like 
spots are on the back, sides and tail. The undersides are whitish or 
yellowish, with dusky spots on the throat. Breeding females have 
orange or red spots on their sides and under the tail. 

Distribution 

This lizard's original territory was the San Joaquin Valley and 
surrounding hills, ranging from about San Joaquin County south to 
Kern County, including the Carrizo Plain in eastern San Luis Obispo 
County. Today, it is found in scattered locations in the San Joaquin 
valley from Merced County to Kern County and in the foothills along 
the valley's western edge, including the Carrizo Plain and Cuyama 
Valley. 

The lizards live in grasslands with sparse vegetation, alkali flats, 
low foothills, canyon floors, large washes and arroyos. They are ab- 
sent or scarce in areas of tall grass or dense shrub. Sandy soil is their 



30 



preference, although the lizards also are found in coarse, gravelly soil 
and hardpan. 

Life History 

The blunt-nosed leopard lizard is an active daylight hunter, feeding 
on locusts, cicadas and small lizards. Most of its surface activity 
occurs when air temperatures are 80 to 105 F. It uses small mammal 
burrows for shelter and to escape its enemies, which include shrikes, 
owls, kestrels, roadrunners, spotted skunks and coyotes. 

After mating, the female lays two to three eggs in an underground 
chamber at the end of a burrow, usually from early June to mid-July. 
The eggs take about two months to hatch and young lizards usually 
can be seen by early August. Young lizards and some adults may 
remain active above ground into October, depending upon the cli- 
mate. The cold winter months are spent underground in mammal 
burrows. 

Status 

The original range of the blunt-nosed leopard lizard was quite 
extensive. However, agricultural development in the San Joaquin Val- 
ley has reduced the native habitat to a fraction of what it once was. 
Recent studies have indicated that this lizard requires large areas of 
unaltered land in order to sustain viable populations. The species will 
continue to be threatened as agriculture and subdivisions claim more 
land. Off-road vehicles also are damaging lizard habitat in some foot- 
hill areas. Some natural lizard habitat remains in a near-natural condi- 
tion on the Naval Petroleum Reserve near Taft and on the Kern- 
Pixley National Wildlife Refuges. 

Management 

Large areas of prime habitat need to be protected wherever possible. 
Efforts are being made to acquire property in the San Joaquin Valley 
with habitat suitable for the preservation of the blunt-nosed leopard 
lizard. 



31 



SAN FRANCISCO GARTER SNAKE 

Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia 




Description 

This is one of the most strikingly beautiful snakes of North Ameri- 
ca. The top of the head is red. There is a wide stripe on the back of 
greenish-yellow edged with black, and broad red stripes on each side 
bordered with black. The red stripe may be broken or divided any- 
where along the body. The ventral side is turquoise blue. Adult 
females grow to about four feet. 

Distribution 

The San Francisco garter snake is found from northern San Mateo 
County south along the east slope of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the 
Santa Clara County line, and along the coast west of this region south 
to Point Aiio Nuevo. It is found most commonly in vegetation that 
borders ponds and lakes. Marshy areas with good cover are especially 
favored. 



32 



Life History 

The San Francisco garter snake is active throughout the year except 
during periods of cold weather. It breeds in the early spring and the 
females bear live young in late summer. The San Francisco garter 
snake is usually found in the vicinity of permanent water, although 
vernal ponds may be frequented in the spring. Its favorite food is 
frogs, although fish may also be eaten. 

Status 

Fewer than 20 populations of this snake are known to exist. Most 
populations are composed of less than 50 adults, and there is high 
mortality in newborn young. The snake was formerly abundant at a 
few ponds near Daly City, but housing construction has eliminated 
these populations. Less than five percent of the present habitat is on 
protected land. 

The San Francisco garter snake occurs on land owned by the city 
and county of San Francisco and on some state park land. Most of 
the best habitat, though, is on private land. Successful management 
of this snake will require protecting additional land and keeping the 
habitat in a natural (wild) condition. 



33 



SANTA CRUZ LONG-TOED SALAMANDER 

Ambystoma macrodactylum croceum 




Description 

The Santa Cruz long-toed salamander grows to about five inches 
and has relatively long, tapered toes. This salamander is shiny black, 
with an irregular pattern of metallic orange to yellow-gold blotches 
along the back. 

Distribution 

Three sites in Santa Cruz County and two in Monterey County are 
the only areas known at present to support populations of this species. 
They are found in ponds during the winter and spring and in nearby 
oak-chaparral woodlands during the remainder of the year. 

Life History 

Adult Santa Cruz long-toed salamanders spend most of their lives 
under leaf litter or in mammal burrows. Their diet includes isopods, 
beetles, centipedes, earthworms and spiders. 

34 



At night, during the rainy season, adults migrate to temporary 
ponds where they breed. Males usually arrive first, followed closely 
by the females. The salamanders mate, lay their eggs, then return to 
the wooded areas. The eggs usually are deposited singly and are 
attached to submerged aquatic plants. The eggs hatch in about a week 
and the larvae develop in three to four months. Larvae feed mainly 
on aquatic invertebrates. 

Metamorphosis will not occur until the larvae are at least one and 
one-quarter inches long. However, drying of the ponds will speed up 
metamorphosis. Young salamanders move into nearby woodlands 
after metamorphosis, or seek refuge under vegetation or in cracks at 
the bottom of the drying pond. 

Status 

The temporary ponds required by this species for reproduction 
have been threatened by home building, highway construction and 
drainage projects. The California Department of Fish and Game and 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have purchased habitat at two sites 
in Santa Cruz County to manage as preserves for the salamander. The 
California Department of Transportation has begun a project to 
rehabilitate a pond area damaged by previous highway construction. 



35 



DESERT SLENDER SALAMANDER 

Batrachoseps aridus 



i 




Description 

The desert slender salamander can be distinguished from other 
slender salamanders by its shorter tail. It is a small creature, growing 
to a maximum length of approximately four inches. The back of the 
desert slender salamander is blackish-maroon, overlaid by an indis- 
tinct lighter band The underside of the trunk is darker black-maroon. 
The underside of the tail is flesh colored. 

Distribution 

This salamander was not discovered until 1969. It is restricted to 
Hidden Palm Canyon, south of Palm Desert in Riverside County. It 
is found along the base of cliffs in the canyon, where continuous water 
seepage occurs. The salamanders seek cover in crevices and under 
slabs of limestone and other rocks. 



36 



Life History 

The desert slender salamander is completely terrestrial. It can be 
found on the surface of the ground only during late winter and early 
spring under dirt clods, rocks and other objects on the canyon floor. 
During dry, hot weather, the salamanders retreat underground to 
avoid dehydration. 

Status 

Searches in other areas around Hidden Palm Canyon have failed 
to turn up any desert slender salamanders. It most likely occurs only 
in that one location. The salamander population is maintained by a 
continuous flow of groundwater that keeps the soil moist. Destruction 
of the salamander's habitat, either by loss of the limestone sheeting, 
pollution or reduction of the groundwater supply would seriously 
endanger the population. 

A desert slender salamander reserve of 134.5 acres is managed by 
the California Department of Fish and Game. Ground water pumping 
and septic tank construction that would alter quantity or quality of 
the water flow in the salamander habitat must be restricted. The 
salamander's requirements for reproduction, food and population 
maintenance are being studied. 



37 



COLORADO SQUAWFISH 

Ptychocheilus lucius 




Description 

The Colorado squawfish is the largest minnow in the world. A 
slender, pike-like fish, it has been reported to reach lengths of more 
than six feet and a weight of 80 pounds. The head may make up 
one-quarter the total body length. Its color is bronze to olive, gradual- 
ly changing to silver underneath. 

Distribution 

They are found primarily in slow, deep, river water. Originally 
found throughout the Colorado River system, Colorado squawfish 
today are restricted to the Green River in Wyoming and the Yampa 
River in Utah and Colorado. This squawfish is probably extirpated 
from the California portion of the Colorado River. 

Life History 

Colorado squawfish are predatory fish, existing on aquatic insects 

38 



when young and becoming more and more dependent on other fish 
after they reach a length of approximately four inches. Beyond eight 
inches, they eat only fish. 

Squawfish achieve sexual maturity when five to seven years old. At 
this stage they are approximately 13—18 inches long. Spawning takes 
place in the spring when waters are above 64 F. Exact details of 
spawning behavior and locations are unknown. It is assumed to occur 
in areas of deep moving water. The eggs adhere to rocks. 

Status 

At one time the Colorado River was warm and muddy, but con- 
struction of several dams along the river has changed the original 
system. The river is now cold and contains several clear, deep and 
slow-moving areas. The dams prohibit fish from migrating up and 
downstream, and the cooler water may inhibit successful reproduc- 
tion. These changes have probably also decreased the numbers of fish 
which are eaten by the squawfish as well. 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state fish and game depart- 
ments from California and Arizona, are working together to develop 
an artificial rearing program in the hope of re-establishing a popula- 
tion in the lower Colorado River. Studies also are underway to deter- 
mine the habitat requirements of this uniquely adapted species. 



39 



THICKTAIL CHUB 

Gila crassicauda 




Description 

Another species not likely to be seen again is the thicktail chub. It 
derives its name from the thickened area (caudal peduncle) in front 
of the tail fin. This stocky fish has large scales and a V-shaped head. 
Color ranges from greenish brown to purplish black on the back, to 
yellowish on the sides and belly. It grows to a length of about 12 
inches. 

Distribution 

The thicktail chub once occurred throughout the lowland areas of 
the great Central Valley, in streams flowing into San Francisco Bay, 
and in the Clear Lake system. It disappeared from Clear Lake around 
1940 and the last specimen to have been collected in California was 
in 1957 near Rio Vista. It may be extinct today. 



40 



Life History 

Little was ever known about this fish. It was probably carnivorous, 
feeding on fish and large aquatic invertebrates. At one time it must 
have been plentiful, for it was the third most common fish species 
found in the middens of Indian settlements in the Central Valley. It 
was also sold in the San Francisco fish market around the turn of the 
century. 

Status 

The thicktail chub is probably extinct. It may be possible yet to 
discover a remnant population in some backwater area of the Delta, 
but samples of this unique species now exist only in museum bottles. 

The draining and filling of lowland marshes, agricultural develop- 
ment, water diversion and the introduction of non-native species of 
fish have probably all contributed to the chub's demise. 



41 



TECOPA PUPFISH 

Cyprinodon nevadensis calidae 




Description 

The dorsal fin of the Tecopa pupfish is closer to the tail than to the 
head. The pelvic fins have six rays but the fins are small and occasion- 
ally missing. When in breeding condition, males are bright blue with 
a black band at the end of the tail. Females may have from six to 10 
vertical stripes. These pupfish are scarcely more than an inch long. 

Distribution 

This fish was originally found only in the outflows of North and 
South Tecopa Hot Springs and associated ditches in southern Inyo 
County. Recent field studies have not located any Tecopa pupfish 
within their original range. 

Life History 

The fish survive in waters as warm as 108 F. Blue-green algae seems 
to be the main food of this fish, however they are also known to take 

42 



small invertebrates such as mosquito larvae. Pupfish can produce 
from two to 10 generations a year, depending on the temperature of 
the water. 

Status 

Although still listed as an endangered species, the Tecopa pupfish 
may already be extinct. None has been found during recent field 
studies. Agricultural and recreational development of the Tecopa Hot 
Springs and neighboring land has eliminated the fish from the springs 
themselves. There may still be some populations in the vicinity, which 
have not yet been discovered. 



43 



BONYTAIL CHUB 

Gila elegans 




Description 

Bonytail are a large species of chub that belong to the minnow 
family (Cyprinidae) . They are now rarely seen in California, but if 
one is encountered it can be readily identified by the extremely long 
and narrow tail stock (caudal peduncle) and the deeply-forked tail. 
A large hump is usually present behind the small flattened head. The 
eyes are small and elliptical. The body is covered with small scales, 
usually embedded in the body surface. Young fish do not resemble the 
adults. 

Distribution 

Bonytails were once common in the larger tributaries of the Colo- 
rado River system. Most fish have been collected only from pools and 
back eddies, but their body shape may be an adaptation that enables 
them to withstand turbulent flows, to frequent faster waters for feed- 
ing purposes, or to undertake spawning migrations. The water in 
which they are found is usually muddy, with clay, mud, silt, or boul- 
ders on the bottom. 

Life History 

Adult bonytail eat insects, algae, and floating plant debris. Young 
bonytail consume aquatic insect larvae, gradually switching over to 



surface food as they grow. Spawning takes place once water tempera- 
tures exceed 64 F, usually in May and June. Spawning areas are 
characteristically gravel riffles or rubble-bottomed eddies. 

Status 

This fish is extremely rare, if not extinct, in the California portion 
of the Colorado River because access to upstream spawning areas has 
been blocked by dams and no suitable spawning habitat remains in the 
California portion of the river. Bonytail are still present in the upper 
reaches of the Colorado River system, where suitable spawning habi- 
tat remains, but they are unable to move downstream under present 
conditions. Future survival for this species is dependent upon main- 
taining sufficient water flows in these upstream areas. 



45 



HUMPBACK (RAZORBACK) SUCKER 

Xyrauchen texanus 




Description 

The most obvious feature of this species is a pronounced hump 
along the back in front of the dorsal fin. Other features show typical 
sucker characteristics. For example, the mouths have few papillae 
(pimple-like structures), and the lips are divided by a mid-line cleft. 
These suckers can grow to two feet long and weigh 10 pounds. They 
range from dusky brown to olive-colored on the back and yellow- 
orange on the belly. 

Distribution 

This species is found through most of the Colorado River system, 
but only in the main portion of the river in California. They are 
generally associated with sand, mud and rock bottoms in areas of 
sparse aquatic vegetation. 



46 



Life History 

These suckers feed on algae and detritus scoured from stream 
bottom rocks and sediments. The breeding season lasts from March 
to May when water temperatures are 55 to 65 F. 

This species displays an elaborate circular courtship "dance". Usu- 
ally two or more males initiate a counter-clockwise circular swimming 
motion accompanying a single female. The males nudge the female's 
abdomen with their snouts attempting to induce discharge of the eggs. 
This swimming activity may become so rapid and intense that bottom 
sediments are stirred up, making the water cloudy. The final convul- 
sive moment results in simultaneous discharge of eggs and sperm. The 
swimming activity immediately ceases and sometimes the participants 
may catapult into the air. 

Status 

Recent collections along the Colorado River have found only small 
populations of humpback suckers above Lake Powell and even small- 
er populations above lakes Havasu and Mojave. These impoundments 
appear to have changed spawning areas used by the fish, causing 
decreased reproduction and a resulting decline in population. 



47 



SHORTNOSE SUCKER 

Chasmistes brevirostris 




Description 

The name, shortnose sucker, aptly describes the peculiar appear- 
ance of this fish. The shortnose sucker has a large head with a blunt 
snout that may have a small hump at the tip. The mouth is oriented 
forward and has thin lips with few papillae. All other California 
suckers have mouths that are subterminal (downward oriented) and 
have large fleshy lips with numerous papillae. The body is cylindrical 
and attains a length of 20 inches. The body coloration is dark on the 
back and silvery to white on the belly. Spawning fish may show a 
reddish tint on the sides. 

Distribution 

This species is native to the Klamath and Lost River drainages of 
southern Oregon and northern California. The distribution in Califor- 
nia includes Clear Lake Reservoir, and its tributaries, Willow and 
Boles creeks, Modoc County, the Lost River, Modoc County, and 
Copco Reservoir, Siskiyou County. 

48 



Life History 

Little is known regarding the life history of this species. However, 
the mouth structure and the presence of numerous, densely-tufted gill 
rakers suggest that these fish feed on plankton that they strain from 
the water. The shortnose sucker apparently spends most of the year 
in the open water areas of lakes, reservoirs and rivers, only entering 
tributary creeks in the spring to spawn. 

In California, ripe male and female suckers have been captured in 
Willow and Boles creeks during the spawning season. Fry have been 
observed being swept downstream into Clear Lake Reservoir soon 
after hatching. 

Status 

The decline of this species is attributed to the construction of 
irrigation diversions with the subsequent export of water from the 
rivers, and to the hybridization of the shortnose sucker with other 
species of suckers. It is also listed as endangered in Oregon. 



49 



LOST RIVER SUCKER 

Catostomus luxatus 




Description 

The Lost River sucker is characterized by its large size. It may grow 
36 inches and weigh up to 10 pounds. It has a small hump on the snout 
and moderately thin lips with several rows of papillae on each. The 
head is long and slender. The coloration is dark on the back and sides 
with a white or yellow belly. 

Distribution 

The Lost River sucker is native to the Klamath and Lost River 
drainages of southern Oregon and northern California. Once, this 
species was very abundant and widespread throughout the bi-state 
area. It was an extremely important source of food for the Klamath 
and Modoc Indians who caught and dried thousands of pounds of 
these suckers each year. In California, the Lost River sucker is found 
in Clear Lake Reservoir and its tributary, Willow Creek, Modoc 
County, and in Copco Reservoir, Siskiyou County. 



50 



Life History 

The Lost River sucker is able to project its mouth forward, appar- 
ently an adaptation for digging in soft lake bottoms. They strain 
bottom dwelling worms and insects for food. Spawning migrations 
occur in early April after the water temperature reaches 50 F. They 
spawn over gravel where the eggs adhere until they hatch. After 
spawning, the adults leave the tributaries and return to the larger 
rivers and lakes. In California, these fish spawn in Willow Creek, 
where sucker fry have been observed being swept downstream after 
hatching. 

Status 

Although the Lost River sucker was once very abundant through- 
out its range, its numbers are now reduced. This is a result of con- 
struction of irrigation diversions and flood control structures, which 
have reduced or eliminated flows in the river systems. Hybridization 
with other species of suckers poses an additional threat to continued 
survival. Oregon enacted a bag limit on this fish in 1969 after deter- 
mining that overharvest was occurring in the Klamath Lake snag 
fishery. 



51 



UNARMORED THREESPINE STICKLEBACK 

Gasterosteus aculeatus williamsoni 




Description 

Sticklebacks get their name from spines along their back. The 
number of spines varies with the particular species. These spines can 
be folded down against the body or locked in an upright position for 
defensive purposes. Other spines art- also present in front of the anal 
fin. 

The unarmored threespine stickleback, as the name implies, has 
three spines on the back and, unlike other sticklebacks, lacks bony, 
armorlike plates aiong the sides. Color ranges from green to olive on 
the back, changing gradually to silver on the sides. During the spawn- 
ing period females are pinkish on the throat and belly. Males during 
the same period display a bright scarlet throat and belly, with blue 
eyes and green fins. 

Distribution 

Sticklebacks live in slow moving streams and shallow pools con- 



52 



taining abundant algae and other aquatic plants. The unarmored 
stickleback is presently known to exist in the Soledad Canyon portion 
of the upper Santa Clara River in San Franciquito Canyon, a small 
tributary below Soledad Canyon, the south fork of the San Jacinto 
River, and San Antonio Creek. This species could once be found in 
the Los Angeles, San Gabriel, Santa Ana and Santa Clara rivers, but 
habitat destruction and hybridization with the armored subspecies of 
stickleback has resulted in a reduction in range and abundance. 

Life History 

Sticklebacks feed primarily on aquatic plants and organisms living 
on the river bottom. They can be observed either hovering in place 
or swimming in a rapid, stop-and-go manner. In the spring, males 
build nests of algae and display an elaborate courtship behavior. The 
female will then deposit her eggs in the nest. The male fertilizes the 
eggs and remains with them, guarding and ventilating the eggs until 
they hatch. 

Status 

The unarmored threespine stickleback is threatened by its nearness 
to a rapidly growing urban area. Development of the Santa Clara 
River watershed, introduction of exotic species, water pollution, chan- 
nelization and all the other attendant problems associated with man's 
use of the drainage pose potential threats to the stickleback. A joint 
study between the California Department of Fish and Game, the Los 
Angeles County Museum of Natural History, U.S. Forest Service, and 
California State Polytechnic University at Pomona has identified the 
major habitat requirements for this species. Management goals in- 
clude: protection of the remaining habitat from physical degradation, 
elimination of introduced exotic species, and restoration of degraded 
habitat. 



53 



OWENS TUI CHUB 

Gila bicolor snyderi 




Description 

Tui chubs are chunky fish with short, rounded fins, large scales and 
a small mouth. The Owens tui chub can be distinguished from other 
chubs by its gillraker count of from 10 to 14 and the seven rays of its 
anal fin. The fish are dusky olive above and whitish to silver on the 
belly. There are blue and gold reflections along the sides with consid- 
erable amounts of golden coloration on the gillcover. 

Distribution 

Originally found throughout the Owens River drainage, it is now 
only found in an eight mile section below Crowley Lake dam. In- 
dividuals also have been introduced into the Owens Valley Native 
Fish Sanctuary. They inhabit shallow or sluggish, slowly moving 
water. 

Life History 

Little is known about the Owens tui chub, but inferences can be 



54 



drawn from other chub populations. Chubs feed on bottom dwelling 
invertebrates, zooplankton, plant matter and small fishes. Tui chubs 
congregate in large groups to spawn and do not make nests. The 
fertilized eggs are probably adhesive and stick to rocks and other 
bottom rubble. 

Status 

The major causes of the decline of this species have been the diver- 
sion of the Owens River and the introduction of predatory fishes. The 
Owens chub also is threatened by hybridization with other forms of 
chubs that have been illegally introduced into Crowley Lake. 



55 



OWENS PUPFISH 

Cyprinodon radiosus 




l jh*£ f. 













Description 

Pupfish are small, stout-bodied fishes, rarely exceeding two inches 
in length. The Owens pupfish can be distinguished from other pupfish 
by the position of the dorsal fin — midway between the head and tail. 
The first ray of the dorsal fin is also thickened. There are seven rays 
in the pelvic fins. 

Pupfish display sexual differences in color patterns. The breeding 
males are usually bright blue with a narrow black band on the tail. 
Females are mottled brown above to whitish below and have dark 
blotches or vertical bars on the sides. Immature fish resemble females. 

Distribution 

Pupfish tolerate environmental extremes which would kill most 
other fish species. They have been found living in water with tempera- 
tures from 46 to 1 10 F, and twice as salty as seawater. They can reside 
in shallow, slow streams or deep pools, provided sufficient food is 
available. Today, Owens pupfish are found only at Fish Slough and 
a small pond near Lone Pine, in the Owens Valley, Inyo County. 
Formerly, this species was found along the Owens River from Lone 
Pine to Fish Slough, near Bishop. 



56 



Life History 

Pupfish are omnivorous, feeding on various foods including aquatic 
insects, crustaceans, plankton, algae, and even flying insects that fall 
into the water. This pupfish is credited with controlling the mosquito 
population in the Owens Valley. 

The fish grow to near maximum size by the end of their first 
summer and can then reproduce. Males are highly territorial during 
the breeding season, which lasts from April to October. During this 
period males spend a great deal of time and energy defending up to 
two square feet of territory. Only females are permitted entry into the 
territory for spawning. A brief courtship chase precedes the deposit- 
ing of eggs and fertilization. The small eggs (approximately !/ 16 of an 
inch) adhere to the aquatic vegetation and hatch within seven to 10 
days, depending on water temperature. 

Status 

In 1964 the Owens pupfish, long thought to be extinct, was redis- 
covered in a small pond in the Owens Valley. Since that time the 
pupfish has been transplanted to the Fish Slough Ecological Reserve, 
a sanctuary created especially for the pupfish. The pupfish is relatively 
secure there, but the reserve and the number of pupfish are small. The 
prime cause for decline was the draining of marsh areas for agricul- 
ture purposes. 



57 



MOHAVE CHUB 

Gila bicolor mohavensis 




Description 

Although similar to the Owens tui chub, this subspecies can be 
distinguished by eight anal rays and 1 8 to 29 gillrakers. The coloring 
is also slightly different, with the Mohave chub being dark olive on 
the back, changing to bluish or cream-colored on the belly. There are 
brilliant bluish or gold reflections on the sides, giving a metallic 
appearance. 

Distribution 

Originally found in the Mojave River from the junction of the east 
and west forks downstream to Soda Lake, it is today restricted to Lake 
Tuendae and springs near Fort Soda (formerly the Zzyzx Mineral 
Springs Resort) on the west side of Soda Lake near Baker, San Ber- 
nardino County. These fish have been successfully transplanted into 
a few isolated areas in southern California. 

Life History 

Very little is known about the life history and habitat needs of the 
Mohave chub. They are probably similar in most respects to the 
Owens chub. However, the more numerous gillrakers suggest that 
small organisms make up a greater proportion of their diet. 



58 



Status 

The introduction of the Arroyo chub, Gila orcutti, into the Mojave 
River system has been the primary cause for decline of the Mohave 
chub. 

Extensive interbreeding has been a major factor in the disappear- 
ance of pure populations of the Mohave chub. Fortunately, pure 
populations still remain in Lake Tuendae. The area around the lake 
has been acquired by the Bureau of Land Management and efforts are 
underway to permanently protect the habitat. 



59 



RARE SPECIES IN CALIFORNIA 

These animals have been declared rare by the California Fish and 
Game Commission because their continued existence is threatened by 
one or more conditions. If the answer is "yes" to any of the following 
questions, the species (or subspecies) under consideration is designat- 
ed rare: 

1. Is it confined to a relatively small and specialized habitat, and 
is it incapable of adapting to different environmental conditons? 

2. Although found in other parts of the world, is it nowhere abun- 
dant? 

3. Is it so limited that any appreciable reduction in range, numbers 
or habitat would cause it to become endangered? 

4. If current management and protection programs were dimin- 
ished in any degree, would it become endangered? 



Mammals 

San Joaquin kit fox 
Island fox 
Wolverine 

California bighorn sheep 
Peninsular bighorn sheep 
Guadalupe fur seal 
Mohave ground squirrel 
Fresno kangaroo rat 
Stephens kangaroo rat 

Birds 

California black rail 
California yellow-billed 
cuckoo 

Reptiles 

Giant garter snake 
Alameda striped racer 
Southern rubber boa 



Amphibians 

Black toad 
Siskiyou mountain 

salamander 
Limestone salamander 
Shasta salamander 
Kern Canyon slender 

salamander 
Tehachapi slender 

salamander 

Fishes 

Modoc sucker 
Rough sculpin 
Cottonball Marsh pupfish 



60 



EXTINCT AND EXTIRPATED WILDLIFE OF 
CALIFORNIA 



Extinct 

Several California animals are now extinct throughout their range: 

Wolf (native subspecies) Pasadena freshwater shrimp 

Long-eared kit fox Sooty crayfish 

Grizzly bear Xerces blue (butterfly) 

(native subspecies) Sthenele satyr (butterfly) 

Santa Barbara song sparrow Strohbeen's parnassius 
San Clemente Bewick's wren (butterfly) 

Shoshone pupfish Atossa fritillary (butterfly) 

Clear Lake splittail Antioch Dunes katydid 

Extirpated 

The following animals no longer exist in California, but they still exist 
outside the state: 

Columbian sharp-tailed grouse 

Jaguar 

Woundfin * 

Flannelmouth sucker * 

* These fishes do not occur in California today. They are assumed to have existed in California waters at 
one time, although there is no firm evidence of this. 



61 



FEDERAL LIST OF ENDANGERED SPECIES 

No listing of endangered or rare species is necessarily complete. 
New species of animals are still discovered from time to time, and 
known species are added or deleted from the list as we gather more 
knowledge of the world around us. In addition, both federal and state 
governments claim an interest in endangered species and each pub- 
lishes its own list. Because of differences in reporting procedures and 
jurisdictions (the federal government has jurisdiction over marine 
mammals, for example), federal and state lists may not agree. 

Following is a list of species considered by the federal government 
to be endangered: 



Mammals 

San Joaquin kit fox 

Salt marsh harvest mouse 

Morro Bay kangaroo rat 

Blue whale 

Finback whale 

Gray whale 

Humpback whale 

Right whale 

Sei whale 

Sperm whale 

Birds 

California condor 
Southern bald eagle 
American peregrine falcon 
Aleutian Canada goose 



Brown pelican 
California clapper rail 
Light-footed clapper rail 
Yuma clapper rail 
Santa Barbara song sparrow 
California least tern 
San Clemente loggerhead 
shrike 

Reptiles 

Blunt-nosed leopard lizard 
San Francisco garter snake 

Amphibians 

Desert slender salamander 
Santa Cruz long-toed 
salamander 



Photoelectronic composition by 

CALIFORNIA OFFICE OF STATE PRINT1NC 



76123—800 6-77 37,500 LDA 



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