Habitat and fish assemblage associations and current status of northern leatherside chub Lepidomeda copei in western Wyoming

Western North American Naturalist
By: , and 



Human activities have extensively altered native fish assemblages and their habitats in the western United States. Conservation and restoration for long-term persistence of these fishes requires knowledge of their distributional patterns and life history requirements. Northern leatherside chub Lepidomeda copei (hereafter northern leatherside) is a cyprinid native to the Snake and Bear River Basins of Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah, and it is believed to have declined in distribution relative to historical records. To address information gaps in the species' ecology and assess its status in the state, the objectives of this study were first to document the distribution (2010–2011) of northern leatherside in Wyoming and then to examine habitat factors related to the entire fish assemblage and to evaluate specific habitat associations of northern leatherside in the Bear River Basin, Wyoming. In the Bear River and Upper Snake River Basins, we documented the distribution of northern leatherside and compared it to the previously known distribution. Across the Bear River Basin, we used habitat measurements to assess abiotic features related to the distribution and abundance of northern leatherside. Northern leatherside was found across the Bear River Basin and was present in 2 streams each in the Upper Snake River and Green River Basins in Wyoming. Populations in Wyoming appear to represent the core of northern leatherside range, and our work provided a finer-scale delineation of the species' occurrence. Northern leatherside was collected from a variety of habitats, but multivariate analyses and occurrence modeling indicated it was associated with increased channel depth and depth variability, and positively associated with other native fishes (including mountain sucker Catostomus platyrhynchus, redside shiner Richardsonius balteatus, and speckled dace Rhinichthys osculus). These findings on the distribution and ecology of northern leatherside provide important new information to assist successful management and conservation efforts within Wyoming and across the species' range.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Habitat and fish assemblage associations and current status of northern leatherside chub Lepidomeda copei in western Wyoming
Series title Western North American Naturalist
DOI 10.3398/064.076.0405
Volume 76
Issue 4
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum
Contributing office(s) Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
Description 14 p.
First page 427
Last page 440
Country United States
State Wyoming
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