Culaea inconstans - (Kirtland, 1840)
Brook Stickleback
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Culaea inconstans (Kirtland, 1840) (TSN 166399)
French Common Names: épinoche à cinq épines
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.105068
Element Code: AFCPA02010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Fishes - Bony Fishes - Other Bony Fishes
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Actinopterygii Gasterosteiformes Gasterosteidae Culaea
Genus Size: A - Monotypic genus
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 20. 183 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B91ROB01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Culaea inconstans
Taxonomic Comments: This species exhibits significant clinal variation in dorsal and pelvic spine lengths and in body depth, as well as complex behavioral differences among populations (see Sublette et al. 1990). See Gach (1996) for information on geographic variation in mtDNA and biogeography. See McLennan (1993) for a phylogenetic analysis of the Gasterosteidae based on behavioral characters.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 17Aug2015
Global Status Last Changed: 20Sep1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Dec1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (17Aug2015)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Colorado (S4), Connecticut (SNA), Illinois (S2S3), Indiana (S2), Iowa (S4), Kentucky (SNA), Maine (S2), Michigan (S5), Minnesota (SNR), Montana (S4), Nebraska (S3), New Mexico (SNA), New York (S3), North Dakota (SNR), Ohio (S4), Pennsylvania (S3), Rhode Island (SNA), South Dakota (S4), Utah (SNA), Vermont (S3), Washington (SNA), Wisconsin (S5)
Canada Alberta (S5), British Columbia (S5), Manitoba (S5), New Brunswick (S5), Northwest Territories (S4S5), Nova Scotia (S3), Ontario (S5), Quebec (S5), Saskatchewan (S5)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: The range includes most of the southern half of Canada (Atlantic and Arctic drainages from Nova Scotia to Northwest Territories) and the northern part of the eastern United States, extending south in the Great Lakes-Mississippi River basins to Colorado (Woodling 1985), Nebraska, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania. A population in the Canadian River system in northeastern New Mexico was regarded as probably introduced (through bait bucket or incidental to stocking of exotic salmonids) by Sublette et al. (1990) and Gach (1996), though the apparent native status in eastern Colorado (Woodling 1985) suggests that the New Mexico population could be native. Brook sticklebacks have been introduced in various places south of the native range, such as in Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, northwestern Colorado, northeastern Utah (Modde and Haines 1996, Great Basin Nat. 56:281), and California. Present distribution was influenced by postglacial dispersal from separate refugia in the Mississippi and Ohio river basins (Gach 1996).

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a large number of occurrences (subpopulations) (e.g., see map in Lee et al. 1980).

Population Size: 100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Adult population size is unknown but certainly exceeds 100,000.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Very many (>125)

Overall Threat Impact: Low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: No major threats are known.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size probably are relatively stable or declining at a rate of less than 10% over 10 years or three generations.

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) The range includes most of the southern half of Canada (Atlantic and Arctic drainages from Nova Scotia to Northwest Territories) and the northern part of the eastern United States, extending south in the Great Lakes-Mississippi River basins to Colorado (Woodling 1985), Nebraska, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania. A population in the Canadian River system in northeastern New Mexico was regarded as probably introduced (through bait bucket or incidental to stocking of exotic salmonids) by Sublette et al. (1990) and Gach (1996), though the apparent native status in eastern Colorado (Woodling 1985) suggests that the New Mexico population could be native. Brook sticklebacks have been introduced in various places south of the native range, such as in Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, northwestern Colorado, northeastern Utah (Modde and Haines 1996, Great Basin Nat. 56:281), and California. Present distribution was influenced by postglacial dispersal from separate refugia in the Mississippi and Ohio river basins (Gach 1996).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CO, CTexotic, IA, IL, IN, KYexotic, ME, MI, MN, MT, ND, NE, NMexotic, NY, OH, PA, RIexotic, SD, UTexotic, VT, WAexotic, WI
Canada AB, BC, MB, NB, NS, NT, ON, QC, SK

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
NE Antelope (31003), Blaine (31009), Boone (31011), Brown (31017), Buffalo (31019), Butler (31023), Cedar (31027), Cherry (31031), Custer (31041), Dawes (31045)*, Dawson (31047), Deuel (31049), Douglas (31055), Garden (31069), Hall (31079), Hamilton (31081), Kearney (31099), Keith (31101), Keya Paha (31103), Kimball (31105), Lancaster (31109), Lincoln (31111), Loup (31115), Merrick (31121), Nance (31125), Nemaha (31127), Otoe (31131), Phelps (31137), Sarpy (31153), Saunders (31155), Scotts Bluff (31157), Sheridan (31161), Valley (31175)*, Washington (31177), Wheeler (31183)
NM Colfax (35007)*, Quay (35037)*
PA Cambria (42021), Clearfield (42033), Crawford (42039), Erie (42049), Mercer (42085), Warren (42123)
SD Brookings (46011), Brown (46013), Clay (46027)*, Codington (46029), Day (46037), Deuel (46039), Grant (46051)*, Lincoln (46083), McCook (46087), Roberts (46109)
VT Addison (50001), Chittenden (50007), Franklin (50011), Grand Isle (50013), Orleans (50019)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Upper St. John (01010001), Fish (01010003), Upper Androscoggin (01040001), Lower Androscoggin (01040002), Maine Coastal (01050002)
02 Lake George (02010001), Otter (02010002), Winooski (02010003), Lamoille (02010005), Great Chazy-Saranac (02010006)*, Missisquoi (02010007), Mohawk (02020004), Middle Hudson (02020006), Chenango (02050102), Chemung (02050105), Upper West Branch Susquehanna (02050201)+, Upper Juniata (02050302)
04 St. Louis (04010201), Beartrap-Nemadji (04010301), Bad-Montreal (04010302), Black-Presque Isle (04020101), Ontonagon (04020102), Keweenaw Peninsula (04020103), Sturgeon (04020104), Dead-Kelsey (04020105), Betsy-Chocolay (04020201), Tahquamenon (04020202), Waiska (04020203), Manitowoc-Sheboygan (04030101), Door-Kewaunee (04030102)*, Duck-Pensaukee (04030103), Oconto (04030104), Peshtigo (04030105), Brule (04030106), Michigamme (04030107), Menominee (04030108), Cedar-Ford (04030109), Escanaba (04030110), Tacoosh-Whitefish (04030111), Fishdam-Sturgeon (04030112), Upper Fox (04030201), Wolf (04030202), Lake Winnebago (04030203), Lower Fox (04030204), Pike-Root (04040002), Milwaukee (04040003), St. Joseph (04050001), Black-Macatawa (04050002), Kalamazoo (04050003), Upper Grand (04050004), Maple (04050005), Lower Grand (04050006), Thornapple (04050007), Pere Marquette-White (04060101), Muskegon (04060102), Manistee (04060103), Betsie-Platte (04060104), Boardman-Charlevoix (04060105), Manistique (04060106), Brevoort-Millecoquins (04060107), Lake Michigan (04060200), St. Marys (04070001), Carp-Pine (04070002), Lone Lake-Ocqueoc (04070003), Cheboygan (04070004), Black (04070005), Thunder Bay (04070006), Au Sable (04070007), Au Gres-Rifle (04080101), Kawkawlin-Pine (04080102), Pigeon-Wiscoggin (04080103), Birch-Willow (04080104), Tittabawassee (04080201), Pine (04080202), Shiawassee (04080203), Flint (04080204), Cass (04080205), Saginaw (04080206), St. Clair (04090001), Clinton (04090003), Detroit (04090004), Huron (04090005), Ottawa-Stony (04100001), Raisin (04100002), Cedar-Portage (04100010), Sandusky (04100011), Huron-Vermilion (04100012)*, Black-Rocky (04110001), Cuyahoga (04110002), Ashtabula-Chagrin (04110003), Grand (04110004), Chautauqua-Conneaut (04120101)+, Cattaraugus (04120102)*, Buffalo-Eighteenmile (04120103), Niagara (04120104), Oak Orchard-Twelvemile (04130001)*, Upper Genesee (04130002), Lower Genesee (04130003), Irondequoit-Ninemile (04140101), Salmon-Sandy (04140102), Seneca (04140201), Oneida (04140202), Black (04150101), Upper St. Lawrence (04150301), Oswegatchie (04150302), Raquette (04150305), St. Regis (04150306), English-Salmon (04150307)*, Otter Creek (04150402)+, Winooski River (04150403)+, Lamoille River (04150405)+, Missiquoi River (04150407)+, Lake Champlain (04150408)+
05 Upper Allegheny (05010001)+, Conewango (05010002), French (05010004)+, Conemaugh (05010007)+, Upper Ohio (05030101)*, Shenango (05030102)+, Mahoning (05030103)*, Connoquenessing (05030105), Tuscarawas (05040001)*, Mohican (05040002), Walhonding (05040003), Muskingum (05040004)*, Licking (05040006)*, Upper Great Miami (05080001), Whitewater (05080003), Little Miami (05090202), Middle Ohio-Laughery (05090203), Eel (05120104), Middle Wabash-Deer (05120105), Tippecanoe (05120106), Flatrock-Haw (05120205), Upper East Fork White (05120206)
07 Upper Minnesota (07020001)+, Lac Qui Parle (07020003)+, Le Sueur (07020011), Upper St. Croix (07030001), Namekagon (07030002), Lower St. Croix (07030005), Rush-Vermillion (07040001), Buffalo-Whitewater (07040003), Trempealeau (07040005), La Crosse-Pine (07040006), Black (07040007), Upper Chippewa (07050001), Flambeau (07050002), South Fork Flambeau (07050003), Jump (07050004), Lower Chippewa (07050005), Eau Claire (07050006)*, Red Cedar (07050007), Coon-Yellow (07060001), Upper Iowa (07060002), Grant-Little Maquoketa (07060003), Turkey (07060004), Apple-Plum (07060005), Maquoketa (07060006), Upper Wisconsin (07070001), Lake Dubay (07070002), Castle Rock (07070003), Baraboo (07070004), Lower Wisconsin (07070005), Kickapoo (07070006), Upper Wapsipinicon (07080102), Upper Cedar (07080201), Shell Rock (07080202), Winnebago (07080203), West Fork Cedar (07080204), Middle Cedar (07080205), Lower Cedar (07080206), Upper Iowa (07080207), Upper Rock (07090001), Crawfish (07090002), Pecatonica (07090003), Sugar (07090004), Lower Rock (07090005), Kishwaukee (07090006), Upper Des Moines (07100002), East Fork Des Moines (07100003), Middle Des Moines (07100004), Boone (07100005), North Raccoon (07100006), Lower Des Moines (07100009)*, Chicago (07120003), Des Plaines (07120004), Upper Illinois (07120005), Upper Fox (07120006), Lower Fox (07120007), Middle Kaskaskia (07140202)*
09 Lower Souris (09010003), Eastern Wild Rice (09020108), Clearwater (09020305), Upper Rainy (09030004), Rapid (09030007), Lower Rainy (09030008), Lake of the Woods (09030009)
10 Fort Peck Reservoir (10040104), Middle Milk (10050004), Big Sandy (10050005), Peoples (10050009), Cottonwood (10050010), Whitewater (10050011), Lower Milk (10050012), Frenchman (10050013), Beaver (10050014), Rock (10050015), Porcupine (10050016), Prarie Elk-Wolf (10060001), Redwater (10060002), Poplar (10060003), West Fork Poplar (10060004), Charlie-Little Muddy (10060005), Big Muddy (10060006), Lower Yellowstone (10100004), Lake Sakakawea (10110101), Upper Little Missouri (10110201), Beaver (10110204), Painted Woods-Square Butte (10130101), North Fork Grand (10130301), Upper Niobrara (10150003)+, Middle Niobrara (10150004)+, Snake (10150005)+, Keya Paha (10150006)+, Lower Niobrara (10150007)+, James Headwaters (10160001), Pipestem (10160002), Upper James (10160003)+, Elm (10160004)+, Mud (10160005)+, Snake (10160008)+, Lewis and Clark Lake (10170101)+, Vermillion (10170102)+, Middle Big Sioux Coteau (10170201)+, Upper Big Sioux (10170202)+, Lower Big Sioux (10170203)+, Rock (10170204), Middle North Platte-Scotts Bluff (10180009)+, Lower North Platte (10180014)+, Lower Lodgepole (10190016)+, Lower South Platte (10190018)+, Middle Platte-Buffalo (10200101)+, Middle Platte-Prairie (10200103)+, Lower Platte-Shell (10200201)+, Lower Platte (10200202)+, Salt (10200203)+, South Loup (10210004)+, Upper North Loup (10210006)+, Lower North Loup (10210007)+*, Calamus (10210008)+, Loup (10210009)+, Cedar (10210010)+, Little Sioux (10230003), Big Papillion-Mosquito (10230006)+, Boyer (10230007), Keg-Weeping Water (10240001)+, Tarkio-Wolf (10240005)+
11 Canadian headwaters (11080001)+, Upper Canadian-Ute Reservoir (11080006), Revuelto (11080008)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed (based on multiple information sources) Help
Ecology & Life History
Help
Reproduction Comments: Spawns spring and summer (about mid-May to mid-July in Manitoba, Moodie 1986). Females may spawn every few days when food is abundant. Eggs hatch in 7-11 days. Male tends eggs and fry. Sexually mature by age I, age II and III also are included in the breeding population (Becker 1983, Lee et al. 1980, Moodie 1986).
Ecology Comments: Population size varied greatly among years in a Manitoba lake; summer kill and winter kill common; recolonization via intermittent runoff streams (Moodie 1986).
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Migrationlike movements have been observed, (Becker 1983), but the context of the movements is not definitely known.
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, Low gradient, MEDIUM RIVER, SPRING/SPRING BROOK
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: This species generally occupies cool, clear, heavily weeded, spring-fed creeks, small rivers, lakes, and ponds, usually in shallow, quiet to flowing pools and backwaters over sand or mud (Lee et al. 1980, Page and Burr 2011). Sometimes it burrows into soft bottoms. Occasionally this fish can be found in brackish water. In a lake in Manitoba, adults were most abundant at the outer margin of emergent vegetation (Moodie 1986). Eggs are deposited in a nest made of plant material by the male just above the bottom in shallow water.
Adult Food Habits: Herbivore, Invertivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore, Invertivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: Eats various aquatic invertebrates (including eggs and larvae), eggs and larvae of fishes, and algae. In a Manitoba lake, was opportunistic but heavily dependent on arthropods (Moodie 1986).
Length: 8 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Sticklebacks

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including eggs and larvae) in appropriate habitat.
Separation Barriers: Dam lacking a suitable fishway; high waterfall; upland habitat.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Data on dispersal and other movements generally are not available.

Separation distance (in aquatic kilometers) is arbitrary but reflects the likely low probability that two occupied locations separated by less than several kilometers of aquatic habitat would represent truly independent populations over the long term.

Because of the difficulty in defining suitable versus unsuitable habitat, especially with respect to dispersal, and to simplify the delineation of occurrences, a single separation distance is used regardless of habitat quality.

Date: 21Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 15Nov2011
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 15Nov2011
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Aquin, P. 1999. Évaluation de la situation des groupes taxonomiques des poissons du Québec. Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Faune. 9 pages.

  • Atton, F.M. and J.J. Merkowsky. 1983. Atlas of Saskatchewan Fish. Saskatchewan Department of Parks and Renewable Resources, Fisheries Branch Technical Report 83-2. 281pp.

  • Coad, B. W. 1981. A bibliography of the sticklebacks. Syllogeus 35:1-142.

  • Fisheries Branch. 1991. Fish Species Distributions in Saskatchewan. Report 91-7. Saskatchewan Parks and Renewable Resources, Fisheries Branch. Regina. 102pp.

  • Gach, M. H. 1996. Geographic variation in mitochondrial DNA and biogeography of Culaea inconstans (Gasterosteidae). Copeia 1996(3):563-575.

  • Legendre, V. et J.F. Bergeron. 1977. Liste des poissons d' eau douce du Québec. MLCP, Service Aménage. Expl. Faune. Rap. dact. 6

  • McLennan, D. A. 1993. Phylogenetic relationships in the Gasterostidae: an updated tree based on behavioral characters with a discussion of homoplasy. Copeia 1993:318-326.

  • Modde, T., and G. B. Haines. 1996. Brook stickleback (Culaea inconstans [Kirtland 1841]), a new addition to the upper Colorado River Basin fish fauna. Great Basin Naturalist 56: 281-282.

  • Moodie, G. E. E. 1986. The population biology of Culaea inconstans, the brook stickleback in a small prairie lake. Canadian Journal of Zoology 64:1701-1717.

  • Nelson, J. S. 1969. Geographic variation in the brook stickleback, Culaea inconstans, and notes on nomenclature and distribution. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 26(9):2431-2447.

  • Nelson, J. S., E. J. Crossman, H. Espinosa-Perez, L. T. Findley, C. R. Gilbert, R. N. Lea, and J. D. Williams. 2004. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 29, Bethesda, Maryland. 386 pp.

  • Page, L. M., H. Espinosa-Pérez, L. T. Findley, C. R. Gilbert, R. N. Lea, N. E. Mandrak, R. L. Mayden, and J. S. Nelson. 2013. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Seventh edition. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 34, Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes: North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 432 pp.

  • Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 2011. Peterson field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Second edition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. xix + 663 pp.

  • Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 20. 183 pp.

  • Saskatchewan Environment and Resource Management. 1996. The Fisheries Regulations being Chapter F-16.1 Reg 1 (effective 9 May 1995) as ammended by Saskatchewan Regulations 13/96.

  • Scott, W. B., and E. J. Crossman. 1973. Freshwater fishes of Canada. Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Bulletin 184. 966 pp.

  • Scott, W.B. and E.J. Crossman. 1979. Freshwater Fishes of Canada. Fisheries Research Board of Canada. Bull. 84. 966pp.

  • Winn, H. E. 1960. Biology of the brook stickleback, Eucalia inconstans. American Midland Naturalist 63(2):424-440.

  • Woodling, J. 1985. Colorado's little fish: a guide to the minnows and other lesser known fishes in the state of Colorado. Colorado Division of Wildlife, Denver. 77 pp.

  • Wootton, R. J. 1984. A functional biology of sticklebacks. University of California Press, Berkeley, California. 265 pp.

References for Watershed Distribution Map
  • Becker, G. C. 1983. Fishes of Wisconsin. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison. 1,052 pp.

  • Cooper, E. L. 1983. Fishes of Pennsylvania and the northeastern United States. Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park. 243 pp.

  • Fago, D. 2000. Relative abundance and distribution of fishes in Wisconsin. Fish Distribution Database to year 2000. Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

  • Harlan, J. R., E. B. Speaker, and J. Mayhew. 1987. Iowa fish and fishing. Iowa Conservation Commission, Des Moines, Iowa. 323 pp.

  • Holton, G. D., and H. E. Johnson. 1996. A field guide to Montana fishes. 2nd edition. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Montana State Parks and wildlife Interpretive Association, Helena, Montana. 104 pp.

  • Lee, D. S., C. R. Gilbert, C. H. Hocutt, R. E. Jenkins, D. E. McAllister, and J. R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, North Carolina. i-x + 854 pp.

  • McAllister, C. T., V. A. Villeda and K. Charron. 2010. Two new geographic distribution records for the Brook Stickleback, Culaea inconstans (Gastrosteiformes: Gastrosteidae), in northwestern Nebraska. American Midland Naturalist 163(2): 473-475.

  • Owen, J. B., D. S. Elsen and G. W. Russell. 1981. Distribution of fishes in North and South Dakota basins affected by the Garrison Diversion Unit. University of North Dakota Press, Grand Forks, North Dakota. 211 pp.

  • Smith, C. L. 1985. The inland fishes of New York State. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, New York, xi + 522 pp.

  • Smith, P. W. 1979. The fishes of Illinois. University of Illinois Press, Urbana. 314 pp.

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

  • Trautman, M. B. 1981. The fishes of Ohio. Second edition. Ohio State University Press, Columbus, Ohio. 782 pp.

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