Lepidomeda albivallis (White River spinedace), a fish species endemic to the White River, Nevada, appeared headed toward extinction. In 1991 only 1 population remained, and it comprised fewer than 50 individuals in a 70-m stream reach. We monitored population recruitment and distribution and studied life history and habitat use from 1993 through 1998. We determined that L. albivallis was not reproducing and was continuing to decline, and as an emergency measure we relocated the population (14 in spring 1995 and 6 in spring 1996) downstream 200 m to a secure habitat that we judged more favorable for reproduction. The relocated population reproduced, and by September 1998 it had increased to 396 individuals that inhabited more than 1 km of stream including both pond and stream habitats. In streams they oriented near the bottom but frequently moved up in the water column to strike at drift items. Gut analysis of museum specimens indicated L. albivallis is omnivorous but feeds primarily upon aquatic invertebrates. Conservation of L. albivallis will require reestablishing additional populations within its former range.
Additional publication details
Conservation, status, and life history of the endangered White River spinedace, Lepidomeda albivallis (Cyprinidae)