Crenichthys baileyi

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Original Description: 

  GILBERT, C. H. (1893): Report on the Fishes of the Death Valley Expedition collected in Southern California and Nevada in 1891, with Descriptions of new Species. North American Fauna Nr. 7: p 233

 

  Description of Subspecies:

  WILLIAMS, J. E. & G. R. WILDE (1981): Taxonomic status and morphology of isolated populations of the white river springfish, Crenichthys baileyi (Cyprinodontidae), Southwestern Naturalist v.25, Nr. 4: pp 485 - 503

Etymology: 

  The species' name honours one of the collectors of the type material, Vernon Bailey. Concerning the subspecies' names: 

  Thermophilus is derived from the Greek, meaning "loves warmth", referring to the habitat with conspicous warm water, where this subspecies can be found.

 

  Moapae referrs to the habitat, the springs of the Moapa River.

 

  Grandis is derived from the Latin meaning "big", because this subspecies is the biggest one.

 

  Albivallis is derived from the Latin, meaning "White Valley", in referrence to the restriction of this subspecies to the Valley of the White River.

Holotype: 

  Collection-numbers: United States National Museum, Cat. No. USNM-46110 (6), Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cat No. MCZ -5996 (2), Syracuse University, Cat. No. SU-709 (3). The Syntypes are 11 immature specimens (< 20mm) collected by C.H. Merriam and V. Baileyi, 25.05.1891.

Topotypes elected by Williams & Wilde to serve as representative specimens got the following Collection-numbers: UMMZ 203331, a mature male, 30.1mm and UMMZ 203331, an adult female, 35.4mm, both collected by J. E. Deacon on 10.06.1967.

 

Collection-numbers of the 4 remaining subspecies:

Crenichthys baileyi albivallis: Collection-number: Unversity of Michigan Museum and Zoology, Cat. No. UMMZ-203332.

The Holotype is an adult male, 42.3mm SL, collected by J. E. Deacon on 10.10.1966.

Crenichthys baileyi grandis: Collection.number: Unversity of Michigan Museum and Zoology, Cat. No. UMMZ-203336.

The Holotype is a mature male, 45.5mm SL, collected by J. E. Deacon on 03/04.06.1966.

Crenichthys baileyi moapae: Collection-number: Unversity of Michigan Museum and Zoology, Cat. No. UMMZ-203338.

The Holotype is an adult male, 41.9mm SL, sampled by M. Belcher on 26.02.1967.

Crenichthys baileyi thermophilus: Collection-number: Unversity of Michigan Museum and Zoology, Cat. No. UMMZ-203334.

The Holotype is an adult male, 32.4mm SL, collected by J. E. Deacon on 04.04.1965

English Name: 
White River Springfish
Synonyms: 

Cyprinodon macularius baileyi   Gilbert, 1893

Karyotype: 

 The Karyotype describes the number and appearance of chromosomes during the phase of condensation, classified by the position of the centromere (Levan et al., 1964).

The following abbreviations are employed:

 

M = large metacentric chromsome (a result of Robertsonian fusion)

m = small metacentric chromsome (centromere at medium position)

sm = submetacentric chromsome (centromere at submedian position)

smst = submetacentric-subtelocentric chromosome (continous series)

st = subtelocentric chromosome (centromere at subterminal region)

stt = subtelocentric-acrocentric chromosome (continous series)

t = acrocentric chromosome (centromere at terminal region)

 

The Karyotype of Crenichthys baileyi has not been ascertained.

Size: 
The maximum known SL is 65mm (C. baileyi grandis).
Terra typica: 

The types for the species description came from the Pahranagat Valley, Nevada, USA.

Concerning the subspecies:

Crenichthys baileyi albivallis: Preston Big Spring, White Pine County, Nevada, USA

Crenichthys baileyi baileyi: Ash Spring, Lincoln County, Nevada, USA

Crenichthys baileyi grandis: Hiko Spring, Lincoln County, Nevada, USA

Crenichthys baileyi moapae: Cardy Lamb Spring, Clark County, Nevada, USA

Crenichthys baileyi thermophilus: Mormon Spring, Nye County, Nevada, USA

Status after IUCN: 

Vulnerable

Distribution and ESU's: 

Crenichthys baileyi is endemic to springs and their outflows in the White River drainage in Pahranagat Valley (Nevada, USA). Today the White River is the northern remnant of the prehistoric White River. Two other relic waters are the Pahranagat River (Pahranagat Creek) along the mid reach and the Moapa River (Muddy River) as the lower reach of the prehistoric stream, where Crenichthys baileyi moapae occurs only in and around five warm-water springs in the upper Muddy River.

Habitat: 

This species inhabits hot springs and their outflows at high temperatures from 26 to 37°C, only Preston Big Spring (home of C. b. albivallis) shows lower temperature.  

Colouration: 

The colouration of the subspecies concurs in some points: The back is coloured olivaceous, the sides have a dark lateral line that reaches from the eye to the caudal fin. The belly shows a greyish yellow. The top of the back is marked with a dark line reaching from the head to the dorsal fin. The intensity of the colouration may be realized in varying degrees and depends on subspecies, sex, age and mood. 

   The unpaired fins of the males are sligthly coloured and may show broad dark margins. The fins of the females may show a sligthly yellowish shade. Colour seems to differ more between immature and mature individuals than between the subspecies.

   There is only limited information available about the colouration of some populations.

Biology: 

Some subspecies show a high tolerance to low concentration of dissolved oxygen and high temperatures.

Diet: 

Crenichthys baileyi is an opportunistic omnivore. Studies concerning the gut contents of C. b. thermophilus showed a high percentage of invertebrates, more than 75% in summer and more than 40% in winter. C. b. albivallis showed a preference for algae, but some individuals preferred insect larvae most.

Remarks: 

Gilbert didn't specify the accurate site of his type specimens for the species description. Concerning the spring, Williams and Wilde (1981) reflected about the correct spring: "The failure of Gilbert to list the specific locality of collection in Pahranagat Valley presents a problem since three springs in the valley, Ash, Crystal, and Hiko, harbored populations of springfish. Hiko would seem to be eliminated as the type locality since it is somewhat removed from the river bed and therefore the route of travel. The area near Ash Spring was frequented by travelers at that time and probably was a stopping place for Merriam and Bailey. That Merriam and Bailey collected fishes at Ash Spring is supported by the report of their collection of Rhinichthys in a spring of 36.11 °C as described by Gilbert (1893). Ash spring is the only spring of that temperature in Pahranagat Valley, and therefore, the probable type locality of Crenichthys baileyi." According to these thoughts, both decided to give the population from Ash spring the subspecies-name baileyi and assigned Gilberts types to this subspecies.

    Five Subspecies are valid:

  Crenichthys baileyi albivallis Williams & Wilde, 1981

  Crenichthys baileyi baileyi (Gilbert, 1893)

  Crenichthys baileyi grandis Williams & Wilde, 1981

  Crenichthys baileyi moapae Wiliams & Wilde, 1981

  Crenichthys baileyi thermophilus Williams & Wilde, 1981

 

The Hiko White River springfish (Crenichthys baileyi grandis) has been transplanted into Blue Link Spring in Mineral County (about 240 specimens in 1985). The reason therefore had been a dramatic decimation of fish in Hiko and Crystal spring through the introduction of largemouth bass and tropical aquarium fish (Sevon and Delany, 1987). While the populations in Hiko and Crystal spring remain small, the introduced one in Blue Link increased in numbers, encompassing 5.500 individuals in 1994. Nevertheless, it is absolutely worth considering, why several organisations introduce game fish to habitats and others have to transplant the native fish to the next one to keep them alive.

   The Moapa White River spingfish (Crenichthys baileyi moapae) is the most abundant native fish in the upper Muddy River and the Warm Springs Natural Area. This particular subspecies only lives in warm spring pools and warm water spring outflows of the upper Muddy River in eastern Clark County and is able to withstand low dissolved oxygen levels and very warm water. An apparently introduced population may still exists in a spring near Anderson Dairy Farm along the Moapa River (Williams and Wilde, 1981).

   The White River springfish (Crenichthys baileyi baileyi) that inhabits the Ash spring thermal system with 6 main springs near the tiny village of Ash Springs in Lincoln County (about 150 people) is threatened by alteration of the habitat and introduction of common carps and exotic fish. The spring pool was modified many years ago by construction of a small dam, creating a large pond for recreation which now contains introduced shortfin mollies, mosquitofish, and carp. The nominate form is a rare fish meanwhile in Ash Springs.

   The Preston White River springfish (Crenichthys baileyi albivallis) was found in the 1960s in six connected spring systems, but by 1991 it remained in only four systems in the upper White River which were no longer connected due to water diversions and agricultural and domestic use, thereby eliminating the opportunity for genetic mixing among populations. Reasons for the disappearance of this subspecies from two springs are not definitively known, but both springs contain large populations of introduced guppies, which have been documented to prey on larvae of other fishes.

   The Moorman or Mormon White River springfish (Crenichthys baileyi thermophilus) is endemic to three small springs, the Moorman, Moon River and Hot Creek Spring. Williams and Wilde wrote about this subspecies in 1981: "Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) entered Hot Creek Spring in the early 1970's from Dacey Reservoir, where they had been introduced as game fish. It was thought that the bass had extirpated the springfish until personnel from the Nevada Department of Fish and Game discovered a group of springfish separated from the main pool area by dense emergent vegetation. Hot Creek Spring was poisoned and the isolated springfish were introduced into the main pool area after a barrier to prohibit entry of bass was repaired. Despite the barrier, one bass, probably introduced by fishermen, was observed in the main pool area in 1979. The proximity of bass to Hot Creek Spring can be expected to result in additional intentional or accidental introductions in the future. Viable populations currently exist in all springs inhabited by C. h. thermophilus. This subspecies formerly was common in the warm outflow of Hot Creek Spring. It has been extirpated there by largemouth bass."

   In 1940 and 1941, Sumner and Sargent expperimented with desert fishes out of different temperatured springs, among them Crenichthys baileyi from Preston spring (albivallis, T= 21°C) and Mormon spring (thermophilus, T= 37°C). They observed, that Preston spring fish "speedily died when transferred to Mormon spring. When the converse experiment is performed, they live in health for some days, and may perhaps do so indefinitely." They showed that fish from warm springs have a far higher rate of oxygen consumption than fishes of the same species living in a cool spring. The ratio, when fishes of approximately the same weight are compared, was not far from 2 to 1. 

Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) entered Hot Creek Spring in the early 1970's from Dacey Reservoir, where they had been introduced as game fish. It was thought that the bass had extirpated the springfish until personnel from the Nevada Department of Fish and Game discovered a group of springfish separated from the main pool area by dense emergent vegetation. Hot Creek Spring was poisoned and the isolated springfish were introduced into the main pool area after a barrier to prohibit entry of bass was repaired. Despite the barrier, one bass, probably introduced by fishermen, was observed in the main pool area in 1979. The proximity of bass to Hot Creek Spring can be expected to result in additional intentional or accidental introductions in the future. Viable populations currently exist in all springs inhabited by C. h. thermophilus. This subspecies formerly was common in the warm outflow of Hot Creek Spring. It has been extirpated there by largemouth bass. 

   Species of the subfamily Empetrichthyinae (Crenichthys and Empetrichthys) are oviparous fishes. Parenti (1981) proposed the Empetrichthyinae as sister group to the Goodeinae and used the name Goodeidae to encompass the two subfamilies. This narrow relationship has been supported by several studies since  the 1980's (Webb, Dominguez).

   The both genera of this subfamily share the lack of pelvic fins.

   In its natural habitats, Crenichthys baileyi is threatened by introduced species.  According to the Nevada Department of Wildlife, C. b. albivallis, C. b. baileyi, C. b. grandis and C. b. thermophilus are subject to protection and may not be posessed by a person.

First Describer: 
(Gilbert, 1893)
Photos: 

 

Image 1: spawning male, C. b. baileyi
Copyright by Markus Heussen
Image 2: female, C. b. bailyi
Copyright by Markus Heussen

Image 1: spawning male, C. b. baileyi

Copyright by Markus Heussen

Image 2: female, C. b. baileyi

Copyright by Markus Heussen

Image 3: group of C. b. baileyi

Copyright by Aaron Ambos

Image 4 and 5: C. b. baileyi

Copyright by Aaron Ambos

Image 6: male, C. b. baileyi

Copyright by Michael Schneider

Images 7 and 8: C. b. albivallis

Copyright by Kevin Guadalupe

Image 9: C. b. thermophilus

Copyright: Aaron Ambos

Images 10 and 11: C. b. moapae

Copyright: Aaron Ambos

Image 12: C. b. moapae

Copyright: Kevin Guadalupe

Image 13: C. b. moapae

Copyright by Dave Syzdek

Image 14: C. b. grandis, group in the habitat

Copyright by Aaron Ambos

Images 15 - 18: C. b. grandis

Copyright by Kevin Guadalupe