Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Inhabits margins of spring-fed marsh pools; most common away from vegetation (Ref. 5723). Feeds on diatoms, amphipods, and ostracods (Ref. 79012). Not a seasonal killifish. Is difficult to maintain in aquarium (Ref. 27139).
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Distribution

endemic to a single state or province

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (<100 square km (less than about 40 square miles)) Historical range included the lower portion of Leon Creek and Diamond-Y Spring, Pecos County, Texas. Population at the type locality (Leon Springs) is extirpated (Echelle et al. 1987, Page and Burr 2011).

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North America: known only from Leon Creek (in Pecos River system), Pecos County in Texas, USA.
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Historic Range:
U.S.A. (TX)

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Texas, U.S.A.
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Physical Description

Size

Length: 5 cm

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Maximum size: 56 mm TL
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Max. size

5.6 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 5723))
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Type Information

Type for Cyprinodon bovinus
Catalog Number: USNM 154785
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Collector(s): J. Clark
Locality: Leon Springs, Rio Grande, Texas., Texas, United States, North America
  • Type:
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat Type: Freshwater

Comments: Habitat consists of shallow saline springs, pools, and outflow streams. This fish is most abundant in quiet water near edges of pools, particularly where there are minimal growths of algae (Lee et al. 1980). Springs typically are quite hard, with high levels of silica, sulphates, and chlorides (Lee et al. 1980). Permanent water exists as two semi-isolated reaches in Leon Creek, which originates in seeps and flows 1 km to join another 1-km-long outflow from Diamond-Y Spring; a combined permanent flow then passes another kilometer or so and percolates into the ground; the channel then becomes ill-defined and dry for about 2 km, then water reenters from seeps and springs to form a second 2.7-km reach of perennial flow that ends in two livestock watering tanks; the extent of water in this system varies with climatic conditions; salt encrustations are common along the banks, which are vegetated by sedges and other low marshland plants (Minckley et al. 1991). Spawning occurs in shallow, slow-current areas (Kennedy 1977).

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Habitat consists of shallow saline springs, pools, and outflow streams. This fish is most abundant in quiet water near edges of pools, particularly where there are minimal growths of algae (Lee et al. 1980). Springs are typically quite hard, with high levels of silica, sulphates, and chlorides (Lee et al. 1980). Permanent water exists as two semi-isolated reaches in Leon Creek, which originates in seeps and flows 1 km to join another 1-km-long outflow from Diamond-Y Spring; a combined permanent flow then passes another kilometre or so and percolates into the ground; the channel then becomes ill-defined and dry for about 2 km, then water reenters from seeps and springs to form a second 2.7-km reach of perennial flow that ends in two livestock watering tanks; the extent of water in this system varies with climatic conditions; salt encrustations are common along the banks, which are vegetated by sedges and other low marshland plants (Minckley et al. 1991). Spawning occurs in shallow, slow-current areas (Kennedy 1977).

Systems
  • Freshwater
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Environment

benthopelagic; non-migratory; freshwater
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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Eats mainly diatoms and algae, also amphipods, gastropods, and ostracods (Kennedy 1977).

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5

Comments: This species is represented by a single occurrence.

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Global Abundance

2500 - 10,000 individuals

Comments: Population in Diamond Y Draw has been estimated at fewer than 10,000 adults (Echelle, pers. comm., in Garrett et al. 2002). This pupfish is common in an extremely small area (Page and Burr 2011).

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General Ecology

Summer densities may reach 3 or more per sq m (Matthews and Moseley 1990).

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Spawns throughout the year; peak in July. Life span is 20-23 months. Most individuals probably participate in only 1 spawning period (Kennedy 1977).

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N1 - Critically Imperiled

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled

Reasons: Limited to Diamond Y Spring and a 4-mile stretch of permanent aquatic habitat in Leon Creek, Texas; threatened by pollution, exhaustive water use, and competition and genetic introgression by exotic fish species.

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
D2

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
NatureServe

Reviewer/s
Smith, K. & Darwall, W.R.T.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is listed as Vulnerable because its extent of occurrence and area of occupancy are less than 10 sq km, the species occurs in only one location, and species faces future threats from non-native fishes and declining spring flows. The population (estimated to be fewer than 10,000 adults) appears to be relatively stable. Evidence of a decline would put this species in the Critically Endangered category.

History
  • 1996
    Critically Endangered
  • 1994
    Endangered
    (Groombridge 1994)
  • 1990
    Endangered
    (IUCN 1990)
  • 1988
    Endangered
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
  • 1986
    Endangered
    (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)
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Current Listing Status Summary

Status: Endangered
Date Listed: 08/15/1980
Lead Region:   Southwest Region (Region 2) 
Where Listed: Entire


Population detail:

Population location: Entire
Listing status: E

For most current information and documents related to the conservation status and management of Cyprinodon bovinus , see its USFWS Species Profile

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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)

Comments: Trend over the past 10 years or three generations is uncertain but likely relatively stable.

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Population

Population
This species is represented by a single occurrence.

Population in Diamond Y Draw has been estimated at fewer than 10,000 adults (Echelle pers. comm. in Garrett et al. 2002). This pupfish is common in an extremely small area (Page and Burr 2011).

Small surviving population was stable in the 1980s (USFWS 1990).

Trend over the past 10 years or three generations is uncertain but probably relatively stable.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Degree of Threat: A : Very threatened throughout its range communities directly exploited or their composition and structure irreversibly threatened by man-made forces, including exotic species

Comments: The major threats to this species include habitat loss from declining springflows and reduced surface waters, competition with introduced species, and hybridization with introduced fishes (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department).

Most of habitat at Leon Springs was inundated by impoundment in 1918; by 1958 the springs went dry due to overdraft of ground water and lowered water table (Echelle et al. 1987). Spring flow has been decreasing and the spring may dry up if pumping continues at the present rate (Matthews and Moseley 1990). Also, activity in the nearby (upstream) oil and gas field poses a threat, as does the ease with which non-native fishes could be introduced.

Species was regarded as extinct in publications of the late 1950s and early 1960s; rediscovered and redescribed in the mid-1960s and early 1970s, a period when the introduced C. variegatus became established and hybridized with C. bovinus. C. variegatus and hybrids reportedly were eliminated by intensive management in the 1970s (see Minckley et al. 1991), but Echelle and Echelle (1997) found genetic introgression of the entire wild population by C. variegatus, probably due to a recent introduction of C. variegatus. Restricted habitat allows for little resiliency to outside pressures.

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Major Threats
The major threats to this species include habitat loss from declining springflows and reduced surface waters, competition with introduced species, and hybridization with introduced fishes (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department).

Most of the habitat at Leon Springs was inundated by impoundment in 1918; by 1958 the springs went dry due to overdraft of ground water and lowered water table (Echelle et al. 1987). Spring flow has been decreasing and the spring may dry up if pumping continues at the present rate (Matthews and Moseley 1990). Also, activity in the nearby (upstream) oil and gas field poses a threat, as does the ease with which non-native fishes could be introduced.
The species was regarded as extinct in publications of the late 1950s and early 1960s; rediscovered and redescribed in the mid-1960s and early 1970s, a period when the introduced Cyprinodon variegatus became established and hybridized with C. bovinus. C. variegatus and hybrids reportedly were eliminated by intensive management in the 1970s (see Minckley et al. 1991), but Echelle and Echelle (1997) found genetic introgression of the entire wild population by C. variegatus, probably due to a recent introduction of C. variegatus. Restricted habitat allows for little resiliency to outside pressures.
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Critically Endangered (CR) (A2c)
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Management

Management Requirements: Exclusion/removal of Cyprinodon variegatus from Lake Balmorhea is important. See recovery plan (1985).

Biological Research Needs: Find alternate, less threatened habitat.

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Needs: Protect both EOs through acquisition of habitat.

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Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Exclusion/removal of Cyprinodon variegatus from Lake Balmorhea is important. See recovery plan (1985). Systematic genetic monitoring is needed (Echelle and Echelle 1997) Population is monitored annually.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

aquarium: commercial
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Wikipedia

Leon Springs pupfish

The Leon Springs pupfish (Cyprinodon bovinus) is a species of fish in the Cyprinodontidae family. It is endemic to Texas in the United States, where it is limited to Pecos County, Texas. It is a federally listed endangered species.

This fish was first discovered in 1851 at Leon Springs, near Fort Stockton, Texas. Leon Springs was impounded, poisoned, stocked with game fish,[1] and drained, and the fish was considered extinct by 1938. In the 1960s it was rediscovered at Diamond Y Spring a few miles away.[2] It is also found in the Diamond Y Draw, a tributary of the Pecos River.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kennedy, S. E. (1977). Life history of the Leon Springs Pupfish, Cyprinodon bovinus. Copeia 1977(1) 93.
  2. ^ USFWS. Listing of Leon Springs Pupfish as endangered with critical habitat. Federal Register August 15, 1980.
  3. ^ Garrett, G., et al. (2002). Threatened fishes of the world: Cyprinodon bovinus Baird & Girard, 1853 (Cyprinodontidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes 64(4) 442.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Allozyme data are consistent with the hypothesis that C. variegatus was ancestral to four recognized species (C. bovinus, C. pecosensis, C. rubrofluviatilis, and C. tularosa) from inland drainages associated with the western Gulf of Mexico (Echelle and Echelle 1992). Biogeography indicates that the C. pecosensis-C. bovinus clade may have evolved via vicariant peripheral isolation from C. variegatus (Echelle and Echelle 1992).

Cyprinodon bovinus hybridizes extensively with C. variegatus (Lee et al. 1980). Echelle and Echelle (1997) found genetic introgression of the entire wild population by C. variegatus, but the captive stock appeared to be free of foreign genetic material.

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