endemic to a single state or province
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Global Range: Sacramento-San Joaquin, Pajaro-Salinas, Russian River, upper Pit River, and Clear Lake drainages, California (Lee et al. 1980, Page and Burr 1991). Recently introduced in Eel River, California (Carney and Page 1990).
Length: 115 cm
Catalog Number: USNM 27246
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Collector(s): D. Jordan
Year Collected: 1880
Locality: Sacremento, R., Cal., California, United States, North America
Habitat and Ecology
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Comments: Larger and clearer intermittent and permanent streams (with summer temperatures in excess of 15 C) (Lee et al. 1980). Rocky and sandy pools and runs of small to large rivers; common in clear, warm streams (Page and Burr 1991). Usually in undisturbed habitat; rare or absent where introduced predatory fishes plentiful. Usually spawns in streams in gravel riffles where water temperatures exceed 14 C. Populations in reservoirs may spawn near shore on gravel areas (Moyle 1976). Eggs adhere to rocks and gravel.
Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.
Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some 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.
Migrates upstream to spawn. Also migrates upstream to feed when stream flow high, downstream in summer when stream flow reduced (Moyle 1976).
Comments: Small fish feed primarily on aquatic insect larvae or on surface insects. Squawfish over 10 cm SL prey mostly on fish (e.g., small squawfish, suckers, sculpins, trout, salmon) (Moyle 1976, Brown 1990).
Large individuals sedentary (based on daytime summer observations, Brown 1990). Oldest Sacramento squawfish on record was 9 years old (Moyle 1976).
Life History and Behavior
Sexually mature by beginning of 3rd or 4th summer. Migrates upstream to spawn in April and May. Fecundity probably high; one 50 cm SL female contained 17,730 eggs (Moyle 1976). Fry observed schooling soon after adult spawning.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Ptychocheilus grandis
Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Ptychocheilus grandis
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure
Total adult population size is unknown but relatively large.
Formerly more abundant than at present.
Comments: Localized threats may exist, but on a range-wide scale no major threats are known.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
The Sacramento pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus grandis) (also known as Sacramento squawfish) is a large cyprinid fish of California. It is native to the Los Angeles River, Sacramento-San Joaquin, Pajaro-Salinas, Russian River, Clear Lake and upper Pit River river basins.
- "Salt River Basin Assessment Report". Coastal Watershed Planning and Assessment Program. California Department of Fish and Game. May 2005. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: See Carney and Page (1990) for a diagnosis and information on meristic variation. See Mayden et al. (1991) for a morphometric phylogenetic analysis of the genera MYLOPHARODON and PTYCHOCHEILUS (no taxonomic changes were proposed).