Ptychocheilus grandis
Ptychocheilus grandis
(Sacramento Pikeminnow)
Native Transplant
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Ptychocheilus grandis (Ayres, 1854)

Common name: Sacramento Pikeminnow

Synonyms and Other Names: Sacramento squawfish

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Moyle (1976a); Page and Burr (1991). The American Fisheries Society Names Committee has changed the common name of all squawfish to pikeminnow (Nelson et al. 1998).

Size: 36 cm.

Native Range: Clear Lake, Russian, Sacramento-San Joaquin, Pajaro-Salinas, and upper Pit River drainages, California (Page and Burr 1991).

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Native range data for this species provided in part by NatureServe NS logo
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: This species is known from several sites in California, including Lake Arrowhead, Pyramid Lake, and tributaries of Morro Bay in the southern part of the state, and from the Eel River drainage in the north (Brown and Moyle 1991; Swift et al. 1993).

Means of Introduction: Illegally introduced into the Eel River in 1979 or 1980; the species spread rapidly within the drainage after introduction (Brown and Moyle 1991). Fish found in Pyramid Lake probably arrived through the aqueduct with central California water (Swift et al. 1993).

Status: Established in California outside of its native range (Brown and Moyle 1991; Swift et al. 1993).

Impact of Introduction: Field observations indicated that the introduction of Sacramento Pikeminnow into the Eel River, California, resulted in changes in habitat and microhabitat use by resident fishes (natives and introduced) but no loss of species (Brown and Moyle 1991). In its native range, this piscivorous cyprinid is known to compete with trout and also prey upon young salmonids (Burns 1966d; but see Brown and Moyle 1991).

Remarks: Voucher specimens: California (SIO 66-75).

References: (click for full references)

Brown, L.R., and P.B. Moyle. 1991. Changes in habitat and microhabitat within an assemblage of stream fishes in response to predation by Sacramento squawfish (Ptychocheilus grandis). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 48(5): 849-856.

Burns, J.W. 1966. Sacramento squawfish. Pages 525-527 in A. Calhoun, (ed). Inland fisheries management. California Department of Fish and Game. Sacramento, California.

Swift, C.C., T.R. Haglund, M. Ruiz, and R.N. Fisher. 1993. The status and distribution of the freshwater fishes of southern California. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences 92(3): 101-167.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Nico, L.

Revision Date: 1/24/2011

Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016

Citation Information:
Nico, L., 2018, Ptychocheilus grandis (Ayres, 1854): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL,, Revision Date: 1/24/2011, Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016, Access Date: 2/20/2018

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.

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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2018]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [2/20/2018].

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