Prosopium abyssicola - (Snyder, 1919)
Bear Lake Whitefish
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Prosopium abyssicola (Snyder, 1919) (TSN 162012)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.103370
Element Code: AFCHA03010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Fishes - Bony Fishes - Salmon and Trouts
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Actinopterygii Salmoniformes Salmonidae Prosopium
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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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: Prosopium abyssicola
Taxonomic Comments: See Toline et al. (1999) for information on differentiation between Prosopium species in Bear Lake.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 11Apr2012
Global Status Last Changed: 12Sep1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Occurs only in Bear Lake, Utah and Idaho; vulnerable to habitat changes and stochastic factors; based on historical massive die-offs of other fish species in large lakes (e.g., in the Great Lakes), this species may be vulnerable to events that could lead to major declines or extirpation.

Nation: United States
National Status: N1 (05Dec1996)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Idaho (S1), Utah (S1)

Other Statuses

American Fisheries Society Status: Vulnerable (01Aug2008)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 250-1000 square km (about 100-400 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Range is restricted to Bear Lake, northern Utah and southeastern Idaho (Page and Burr 2011). Surface area of the lake is 280 square kilometers.

Area of Occupancy: 26-125 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by one occurrence and one location.

Population Size: Unknown
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but apparently large.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Threats include degradation of habitat (lake water quality) as a result of increasing human habitation and recreation in the Bear Lake basin. This could affect whitefish directly or indirectly (e.g., through effects on whitefish prey species). Based on historical massive die-offs of other fish species in large lakes (e.g., in the Great Lakes), this species may be vulnerable to events that could lead to major declines or extirpation.

"The lowering of lake levels due to natural events and anthropogenic actions could limit spawning and rearing habitat. Increasing human development around the lake could lead to lowering of water quality due to waste water discharges. Legal and illegal introductions of piscivorous fish could affect populations by increased predation rate." Source: Idaho Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Monitoring for >20 years indicates that the population is stable (Nielson and Tolentino 2002).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Survey Bear Lake for more precise population numbers.

Protection Needs: Maintain pristine habitat.

Distribution
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Global Range: (250-1000 square km (about 100-400 square miles)) Range is restricted to Bear Lake, northern Utah and southeastern Idaho (Page and Burr 2011). Surface area of the lake is 280 square kilometers.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States ID, UT

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
UT Rich (49033)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
16 Bear Lake (16010201)+
+ 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
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Basic Description: A fish (whitefish).
Reproduction Comments: Spawns late December-early February, sometimes into March. Eight-inch females produce about 2,000 eggs (Simpson and Wallace 1982). Sexually mature in 3 years (some males mature in 2 years). Ward (2001) determined an average age of 6.8 years in the spawning population.
Ecology Comments: Generally in deeper water and less abundant than P. spilonotis (Lee et al. 1980).
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Deep water
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: Habitat includes a single lake, where the species is usually in deeper waters (Lee et al. 1980, Page and Burr 2011). Most Bear Lake whitefish occur at depths of 40-60 meters (Utah Sensitive Species List, 29 March 2011).
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Feeds principally on ostracods, copepods, midge larvae, other insects, and aquatic oligochaetes; food apparently obtained from soft marl bottom primarily in deep water (Sigler and Sigler 1987).
Length: 17 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Biological Research Needs: Research alternate habitats, captive propagation.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Nonanadromous Salmonids

Use Class: Not applicable
Subtype(s): Spawning Area
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.
Mapping Guidance: Conceptually, the occurrence includes the entire area used by the population, including spawning, rearing, migration, and wintering areas. Occupied locations that are separated by a gap of 10 km or more of any aquatic habitat that is not known to be occupied represent different occurrences. However, it is important to evaluate migrations and seasonal changes in habitat (see separation justification) to ensure that spawning areas and nonspawning areas for a single population are not artificially segregated as different occurrences simply because there have been no collections/observations in an intervening area that may exceed the separation distance.
Separation Barriers: Dam lacking a suitable fishway; high waterfall; upland habitat.
Alternate Separation Procedure: Separation distance is 10 stream-km for both suitable and unsuitable habitat. However, if it is known that the same population occupies sites separated by more than 10 km (e.g., this may be common for migratory populations), those sites should be included within the same occurrence. In lakes, occurrences include all suitable habitat that is presumed to be occupied (based on expert judgment), even if documented collection/observation points are more than 10 km apart. Separate sub-occurrences or source features may usefully document locations of critical spawning areas within a lake.

Separation Justification: Separation distance is arbitrary; little is known about juvenile dispersal (e.g., how far fishes may move between between their embryonic developmental habitat and eventual spawning site). "Restricted movement is the norm in populations of stream salmonids during nonmigratory periods," but there is considerable variation in movements within and among species (Rodriguez 2002).

Migrations can be extensive. For example, in the Kennebecasis River, New Brunswick, brook trout moved upstream 65-100 km in spring after ice loss; summer movements were minimal; movements to spawning areas in fall were less than 10 km, then the fish moved back downstream to wintering areas in the lower to middle reaches of the river (Curry et al. 2002).

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: 11Mar2003
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: 11Apr2012
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G., and J. Jefferson
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 11Apr2012
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
  • Jelks, H. L., S. J. Walsh, N. M. Burkhead, S. Contreras-Balderas, E. Díaz-Pardo, D. A. Hendrickson, J. Lyons, N. E. Mandrak, F. McCormick, J. S. Nelson, S. P. Platania, B. A. Porter, C. B. Renaud, J. Jacobo Schmitter-Soto, E. B. Taylor, and M.L. Warren, Jr. 2008. Conservation status of imperiled North American freshwater and diadromous fishes. Fisheries 33(8):372-407.

  • 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.

  • Lee, D. S., C. R. Gilbert, C. H. Hocutt, R. E. Jenkins, D. E. McCallister, and J. R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh. 867 pp.

  • McConnell, W. J., W. J. Clark, and W. F. Sigler. 1957. Bear Lake[:] its fish and fishing. Utah State Department of Fish and Game, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and Wildlife Management Department of Utah State Agricultural College. 76 pp.

  • 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.

  • Nielson, B. R., and S. A. Tolentino. 2002. Fisheries investigations Bear Lake cutthroat trout enhancement program January 1995 to December 1999. Publication No. 02-09, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Salt Lake City.

  • 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, Boston. xii + 432 pp.

  • 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.

  • Rodriguez, M. A. 2002. Restricted movement in stream fish: the paradigm is complete, not lost. Ecology 83(1):1-13.

  • Sigler, W. F., and J. W. Sigler. 1987. Fishes of the Great Basin: a natural history. University of Nevada Press, Reno, Nevada. xvi + 425 pp.

  • Sigler, W. F., and J. W. Sigler. 1987. Fishes of the Great Basin: a natural history. University of Nevada Press, Reno.

  • Sigler, W. F., and R. R. Miller. 1963. Fishes of Utah. Utah Department of Fish and Game, Salt Lake City, Utah. 203 pp.

  • Sigler, W. F., and R. R. Miller. 1963. Fishes of Utah. Utah State Department of Fish and Game, Salt Lake City, Utah, 203 pp.

  • Simpson, J. C., and R. L. Wallace. 1982. Fishes of Idaho. 2nd ed. Univ. Idaho Pr., Moscow. 238 pp.

  • Simpson, J. and R. Wallace. 1982. Fishes of Idaho. The University Press of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho. 238 pp.

  • Toline, C. A., T. R. Seamons, and C. Davis. 1999. Quantification of molecular and morphological differentiation of whitefish taxa in Bear Lake. Unpublished report.

  • Ward, A. 2001. Morphometric evaluation of the whitefish complex in Bear Lake, Utah-Idaho. Master's thesis, Utah State University, Logan.

References for Watershed Distribution Map
  • State Natural Heritage Data Centers. 1996b. Aggregated element occurrence data from all U.S. state natural heritage programs, including the Tennessee Valley Authority, Navajo Nation and the District of Columbia: Export of freshwater fish and mussel records west of the Mississippi River in 1997. Science Division, The Nature Conservancy.

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