The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Gillichthys mirabilis
Gillichthys mirabilis
(Longjaw Mudsucker)
Marine Fishes
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
Gillichthys mirabilis Cooper, 1864

Common name: Longjaw Mudsucker

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Moyle (1976a); Eschmeyer et al. (1983).

Size: 21 cm.

Native Range: Marine. Coast of California from Tomales Bay in the north to the Gulf of California in the south (Eschmeyer et al. 1983).

Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: This species has been reported from Roosevelt Lake on the Salt River in Arizona (Minckley 1973), and the Salton Sea of California (Barlow 1961; Walker et al. 1961; Moyle 1976a). It was probably introduced into the lower Colorado River in Arizona-California-Nevada, where it is/was commonly used as a bait minnow (Miller 1952; Minckley 1973; Minckley, personal communication). 

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 Gillichthys mirabilis are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
AZ196619661Upper Salt
CA193019932Imperial Reservoir; Salton Sea

Table last updated 7/22/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: The longjaw mudsucker seen in Arizona was probably a bait bucket release. This species is used as bait in central Arizona and in the lower Colorado River (Miller 1952; Minckley 1973). Five hundred fish obtained from San Diego Bay were intentionally stocked into the Salton Sea by the California Department of Fish and Game in 1930 (Barlow 1961). Hubbs (personal communication in Barlow 1961) suggested that some G. mirabilis may have been introduced into the Salton Sea by live-bait dealers. However, Barlow (1961) considered existing Salton Sea populations to be derived from the San Diego planting.

Status: Established in California. Established in lower Salt Creek near the Salton Sea (Swift 1993). The species as presumably failed in the Salt River in Arizona as no recent specimens or mention of this were found by us. 

Impact of Introduction: In Salt Creek, this introduced species preys on the endangered desert pupfish, contributing to it's population decline in that drainage (Martin and Saiki 2009).

Remarks: The longjaw mudsucker is a popular bait fish that can live out of water for six to eight days if kept moist (Eschmeyer et al. 1983), can withstand being hooked, can tolerate freshwater, but cannot reproduce in freshwater (Barlow and De Vlaming 1972). Evans and Douglas (1950) reported collections of several specimens, identified by Carl Hubbs as Gillichthys destrusus, from the Salton Sea in 1949. Barlow (1961) treated that species as a synonym of G. mirabilis.

Although Swift (1993) says this species is established in the lower Colorado River, this location was not mentioned by Moyle (2002).  Minckley and Marsh (2009) and museum specimens from FishNet2 depict the lower Colorado River occurrences near the mouth of the river.  These are south of the U.S. border (which is why Moyle didn't include them) and would be native locations.

References: (click for full references)

Barlow, G. W. 1961. Gobies of the genus Gillichthys with comments on the sensory canals as a taxonomic tool. Copeia 1961(4):423-437.

Barlow, G. W., and V. L. De Vlaming. 1972. Ovarian cycling in longjaw gobies, Gillichthys mirabilis, from the Salton Sea. California Fish and Game 58(1):50-57.

Eschmeyer, W. N., E. S. Herald, and H. Hamann. 1983. A field guide to Pacific Coast fishes of North America. Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, MA.

Evans, W. A., and P. A. Douglas. 1950. Notes on fishes recently introduced into southern California. California Fish and Game 36:435-436.

Martin, B.A. and M.K. Saiki. 2009. Trophic relationships of small nonnative fishes in a natural creek and several agricultural drains flowing into the Salton Sea, and their potential effects on the endangered desert pupfish. The Southwestern Naturalist 54(2): 156-165.

Moyle, P. B. 1976a. Inland fishes of California. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

Walker, B. W., R. R. Whitney, and G. W. Barlow. 1961. Fishes of the Salton Sea. Pages 77-92 in B. W. Walker, editor. The ecology of the Salton Sea, California, in relation to the sport fishery of California. Department of Fish and Game Fish Bulletin 113.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Fuller, P.

Revision Date: 4/20/2018

Peer Review Date: 5/15/2012

Citation Information:
Fuller, P., 2024, Gillichthys mirabilis Cooper, 1864: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=708, Revision Date: 4/20/2018, Peer Review Date: 5/15/2012, Access Date: 7/22/2024

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. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [7/22/2024].

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