Common name: Alaska Blackfish
available through www.itis.gov
Identification: Morrow (1980); Page and Burr (1991); Mecklenburg et al. (2002).
Size: 33 cm.
Native Range: Alaska, Colville River delta south to central Alaska Peninsula near Chignik and upstream in Yukon-Tanana drainage to Fairbanks vicinity. Also Bering Sea islands and northeastern Siberia (Page and Burr 1991).
Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Puerto Rico &
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps
The Alaska Blackfish was introduced into Hood and Spenard Lakes at the Anchorage Airport, Alaska (Morrow 1980; Page and Burr 1991; Mecklenburg et al. 2002). It has since spread into other lakes and streams in the Anchorage area through interconnecting waterways and occasionally through deliberate transplant (Chlupach 1975). It was also introduced to St. Paul Island in the Pribilof Islands (Scott and Crossman 1973; Mecklenburg et al. 2002).
Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Dallia pectoralis are found here.
Table last updated 9/28/2023
† Populations may not be currently present.
Ecology: Occurs in low-lying lakes, bogs, and rivers with dense submerged and emergent vegetation (Blackett 1962). Blackfish can tolerate low levels of dissolved oxygen due to the modification of the esophagus as an air-breathing structure (Ostdiek and Nardone 1959; Crawford 1974). Blackfish primarily feed on aquatic invertebrates (ostracods, cladocerans, copepods) and insect larvae (ephemeropterans, hemipterans, dipterans, odonates), with snails and juvenile fishes (blackfish and pike) occasionally consumed (Chlupach 1975).
Means of Introduction: Accidental - presumably as stock contamination.
Status: Established in Alaska (Mecklenburg et al. 2002).
Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.
References: (click for full references)
Blackett, R.F. 1962. Some phases of the life history of the Alaskan blackfish, Dallia pectoralis
. Copeia 1962(1):124-130
Chlupach, R.S. 1975. Studies of introduced blackfish in waters of southcentral Alaska. Annual Performance Report for Sport Fish Studies, volume 16, study G-II-K. Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
Crawford, R.H. 1974. Structure of an air-breathing organ and the swim bladder in the Alaska blackfish, Dallia pectoralis Bean. Canadian Journal of Zoology 52:1221-1225.
Crossman, E.J. 1984. Introduction of exotic fishes into Canada. 78-101 in W.R. Courtenay, Jr. and J. R. Stauffer, Jr., eds. Distribution, Biology and Management of Exotic Fishes. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.
Hill, D. - pers. comm. Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Palmer, AK. 27 January 2015
Mecklenburg, C.W., T.A. Mecklenburg, and L.K. Thornsteinson. 2002. Fishes of Alaska. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD.
Morrow, J.E. 1980. The freshwater fishes of Alaska. Alaska Northwest Publishing Company, Anchorage, AK.
Ostdiek, J.L., and R.M. Nardone. 1959. Studies on the Alaskan blackfish Dallia pectoralis I. Habitat, size and stomach analyses. American Midland Naturalist 61:218-229.
Page, L.M., and B.M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. The Peterson Field Guide Series, volume 42. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.
Scott, W.B., and E.J. Crossman. 1973. Freshwater fishes of Canada. Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Bulletin 184. Ottawa.
Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson
Revision Date: 4/30/2018
Peer Review Date: 1/27/2015
Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson, 2023, Dallia pectoralis Bean, 1880: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=975, Revision Date: 4/30/2018, Peer Review Date: 1/27/2015, Access Date: 9/28/2023
This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.