Prosopium williamsoni - (Girard, 1856)
Mountain Whitefish
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Prosopium williamsoni (Girard, 1856) (TSN 162009)
French Common Names: ménomini des montagnes
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.104696
Element Code: AFCHA03060
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 williamsoni
Taxonomic Comments: P. oregonium appears to be a junior synonym of P. williamsoni (Lee et al. 1980).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 10May2016
Global Status Last Changed: 12Sep1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Dec1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (22Dec2017)

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 California (S3), Colorado (S3), Idaho (S5), Montana (S5), Nevada (S3), Oregon (S4), Utah (S3), Washington (S5), Wyoming (S5)
Canada Alberta (S5), British Columbia (S5), Northwest Territories (S4S5), Yukon Territory (SU)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Mackenzie River drainage (Arctic basin), Northwest Territories, south through western Canada and northwestern U.S. in Pacific, Hudson Bay, and upper Missouri River basins, to Truckee River drainage, Nevada, and Sevier River drainage, Utah; common (Page and Burr 1991).

Number of Occurrences:  
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a large number of subpopulations and locations.

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

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Localized threats may exist, but on a range-wide scale no major threats are known.

Short-term Trend Comments: Trend over the past 10 years or three generations is uncertain but likely relatively stable or slowly declining.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Mackenzie River drainage (Arctic basin), Northwest Territories, south through western Canada and northwestern U.S. in Pacific, Hudson Bay, and upper Missouri River basins, to Truckee River drainage, Nevada, and Sevier River drainage, Utah; common (Page and Burr 1991).

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 CA, CO, ID, MT, NV, OR, UT, WA, WY
Canada AB, BC, NT, YT

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CO Routt (08107)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
10 Belly (10010001), St. Mary (10010002), Red Rock (10020001), Beaverhead (10020002), Ruby (10020003), Big Hole (10020004), Jefferson (10020005), Boulder (10020006), Madison (10020007), Gallatin (10020008), Upper Missouri (10030101), Upper Missouri-Dearborn (10030102), Smith (10030103), Sun (10030104), Two Medicine (10030201), Cut Bank (10030202), Marias (10030203), Willow (10030204), Teton (10030205), Judith (10040103), Upper Musselshell (10040201), Milk Headwaters (10050001), Upper Milk (10050002), Yellowstone Headwaters (10070001), Upper Yellowstone (10070002), Shields (10070003), Upper Yellowstone-Lake Basin (10070004), Stillwater (10070005), Clarks Fork Yellowstone (10070006), Upper Yellowstone-Pompeys Pillar (10070007), Pryor (10070008), Nowood (10080008), Greybull (10080009), Big Horn Lake (10080010), Shoshone (10080014), Lower Bighorn (10080015), Upper Tongue (10090101)
14 Upper Green (14040101), New Fork (14040102), Upper Green-Slate (14040103), Big Sandy (14040104), Upper Green-Flaming Gorge Reservoir (14040106), Blacks Fork (14040107), Muddy (14040108), Upper Yampa (14050001)+, Little Snake (14050003), Lower White (14050007), Lower Green-Diamond (14060001), Duchesne (14060003), Strawberry (14060004), Price (14060007), San Rafael (14060009), Fremont (14070003), Escalante (14070005)
16 Upper Bear (16010101), Central Bear (16010102), Bear Lake (16010201), Middle Bear (16010202), Little Bear-Logan (16010203), Upper Weber (16020101), Lower Weber (16020102), Utah Lake (16020201), Spanish Fork (16020202), Provo (16020203), Jordan (16020204), Upper Sevier (16030001), East Fork Sevier (16030002), Middle Sevier (16030003), San Pitch (16030004), Lower Sevier (16030005), Lake Tahoe (16050101), Truckee (16050102), Upper Carson (16050201), East Walker (16050301), West Walker (16050302)
17 Upper Kootenai (17010101), Fisher (17010102), Yaak (17010103), Lower Kootenai (17010104), Moyie (17010105), Upper Clark Fork (17010201), Flint-Rock (17010202), Blackfoot (17010203), Middle Clark Fork (17010204), Bitterroot (17010205), North Fork Flathead (17010206), Middle Fork Flathead (17010207), Flathead Lake (17010208), South Fork Flathead (17010209), Stillwater (17010210), Swan (17010211), Lower Flathead (17010212), Lower Clark Fork (17010213), Pend Oreille Lake (17010214), Pend Oreille (17010216), Upper Coeur D'alene (17010301), St. Joe (17010304), Upper Spokane (17010305), Lower Spokane (17010307), Little Spokane (17010308), Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake (17020001), Kettle (17020002), Colville (17020003), Sanpoil (17020004), Chief Joseph (17020005), Okanogan (17020006), Similkameen (17020007), Methow (17020008), Lake Chelan (17020009), Upper Columbia-Entiat (17020010), Wenatchee (17020011), Moses Coulee (17020012), Banks Lake (17020014), Upper Columbia-Priest Rapids (17020016), Upper Yakima (17030001), Naches (17030002), Lower Yakima, Washington (17030003), Snake headwaters (17040101), Gros Ventre (17040102), Greys-Hobock (17040103), Palisades (17040104), Salt (17040105), Idaho Falls (17040201), Upper Henrys (17040202), Lower Henrys (17040203), Teton (17040204), American Falls (17040206), Lake Walcott (17040209), Salmon Falls (17040213), Big Lost (17040218), Big Wood (17040219), Little Wood (17040221), C. J. Idaho (17050101), Middle Snake-Succor (17050103), Middle Owyhee (17050107), Lower Owyhee (17050110), Lower Boise (17050114), Middle Snake-Payette (17050115), Upper Malheur (17050116), Lower Malheur (17050117), Bully (17050118), South Fork Payette (17050120), North Fork Payette (17050123), Brownlee Reservoir (17050201), Burnt (17050202), Hells Canyon (17060101), Imnaha (17060102), Lower Snake-Asotin (17060103), Upper Grande Ronde (17060104), Wallowa (17060105), Lower Grande Ronde (17060106), Lower Snake-Tucannon (17060107), Lower Snake (17060110), Upper Salmon (17060201), Middle Salmon-Panther (17060203), Lemhi (17060204), Upper Middle Fork Salmon (17060205), South Fork Salmon (17060208), Lower Salmon (17060209), Little Salmon (17060210), Lochsa (17060303), South Fork Clearwater (17060305), Clearwater (17060306), Upper North Fork Clearwater (17060307), Lower North Fork Clearwater (17060308), Middle Columbia-Lake Wallula (17070101), Walla Walla (17070102), Umatilla (17070103), Middle Columbia-Hood (17070105), Klickitat (17070106), Upper John Day (17070201), North Fork John Day (17070202), Middle Fork John Day (17070203), Upper Deschutes (17070301), Little Deschutes (17070302), Upper Crooked (17070304), Lower Crooked (17070305), Lower Deschutes (17070306), Trout (17070307), Lower Columbia-Sandy (17080001), Lewis (17080002), Lower Columbia-Clatskanie (17080003), Upper Cowlitz (17080004), Lower Cowlitz (17080005), Middle Fork Willamette (17090001), Upper Willamette (17090003), Mckenzie (17090004), North Santiam (17090005), South Santiam (17090006), Middle Willamette (17090007), Yamhill (17090008), Molalla-Pudding (17090009), Clackamas (17090011), Lower Willamette (17090012), Hoh-Quillayute (17100101), Queets-Quinault (17100102), Upper Chehalis (17100103), Lower Chehalis (17100104), Grays Harbor (17100105), Fraser (17110001), Strait of Georgia (17110002), Nooksack (17110004), Upper Skagit (17110005), Sauk (17110006), Lower Skagit (17110007), Stillaguamish (17110008), Skykomish (17110009), Snoqualmie (17110010), Snohomish (17110011), Lake Washington (17110012), Duwamish (17110013), Puyallup (17110014), Nisqually (17110015), Deschutes (17110016), Skokomish (17110017), Puget Sound (17110019), Harney-Malheur Lakes (17120001), Donner Und Blitzen (17120003)
+ 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 late October-early November at 40-45 F in northern Idaho, November-early December in Great Basin. Eggs hatch in about 5 months at temperatures above 35 F. Sexually mature at 3-4 years; average longevity 7-8 years (Wydoski and Whitney 1979, Simpson and Wallace 1982, Sigler and Sigler 1987).
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Lake populations may migrate into tributaries to spawn.
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, High gradient, MEDIUM RIVER, Pool, Riffle
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Deep water, Shallow water
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: Cold mountain lakes (to depths of at least 10 m) and fast, clear or silty streams with large pools. Stream populations spawn in riffles over gravel and small rubble. Lake populations move into tributaries to spawn or seek gravel shallows in lake. Eggs stick to bottom substrate. No nest is constructed.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: Feeds actively on aquatic and terrestrial insects. Also feeds on some fish eggs and occasionally on fishes. Bottom-oriented predator (Moyle 1976), occasionally feeds at surface (Sigler and Sigler 1987).
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular, Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Crepuscular, Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Most feeding occurs at dusk and after dark. May feed more actively in cold winter months than in some of warmer summer months (Sigler and Sigler 1987).
Length: 57 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Help
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Help
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Help
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
Help
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Help
Authors/Contributors
Help
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 17Sep1993
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
  • Andersen, M.D. and B. Heidel. 2011. HUC-based species range maps. Prepared by Wyoming Natural Diversity Database for use in the pilot WISDOM application operational from inception to yet-to-be-determined date of update of tool.

  • Brown, C. J. D. 1971. Fishes of Montana. Big Sky Books, the Endowment and Research Foundation, Montana State University, Bozeman. MT. 207 pp.

  • Everhart, W. H. and W. R. Seaman. 1971. Fishes of Colorado. Colorado Game, Fish and Parks.

  • Mountain Whitefish. 1999. B.C. Fish Facts. Conserv. Sect., Fish. Manage. Branch, B.C. Minist. Fish. 2pp.

  • Moyle, P. B. 1976a. Inland fishes of California. University of California Press, Berkeley, California. 405 pp.

  • Moyle, P. B. 2002. Inland fishes of California. Revised and expanded. University of California Press, Berkeley. xv + 502 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.

  • 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.

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

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

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

  • U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2007. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; 90-day finding on a petition to list the mountain whitefish (Prosopium williamsoni) in the Big Lost River, ID, as threatened or endangered. Federal Register 72(204):59983- 59989.

  • U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2010. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; 12-month finding on a petition to list the mountain whitefish in the Big Lost River, Idaho, as endangered or threatened. Federal Register 75(65):17352-17363.

  • Wydoski, R. S., and R. R. Whitney. 1979. Inland fishes of Washington. The University of Washington Press, Seattle. 220 pp.

References for Watershed Distribution Map
  • Baxter, G. T., and J. R. Simon. 1970. Wyoming fishes. Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Cheyenne, Wyoming, 168 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.

  • Master, L. L. 1996. Synoptic national assessment of comparative risks to biological diversity and landscape types: species distributions. Summary Progress Report submitted to Environmental Protection Agency. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, Virginia. 60 pp.

  • Master, L. L. and A. L. Stock. 1998. Synoptic national assessment of comparative risks to biological diversity and landscape types: species distributions. Summary Report submitted to Environmental Protection Agency. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA. 36 pp.

  • Miller, W. H., H. M. Tyus, and C. A. Carlson. 1982. Fishes of the upper Colorado system: present and future. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland. 131 pp.

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

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