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.

Totoaba macdonaldi
Marine Fishes

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Totoaba macdonaldi (Gilbert, 1890)

Common name: Totoaba

Synonyms and Other Names: (totuava, totoaba).

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Fischer et al. (1995). Synonym is Cynoscion macdonaldi.

Size: 200 cm.

Native Range: Marine; Gulf of California (Fischer et al. 1995).

Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: This species was introduced to the Salton Sea, California, on three occasions during the period 1950-1956 (Walker et al. 1961; Dill and Cordone 1997).

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 Totoaba macdonaldi are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
CA195019561Salton Sea

Table last updated 5/12/2021

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Intentionally stocked for sportfishing. In 1950, a single fish was stocked; in 1951, less than 200; and in 1956, 8 were stocked. Stock was obtained from San Felipe, Mexico (Walker et al. 1961).

Status: The introduction failed to produce a viable population and the species is extirpated in the Salton Sea.

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.

Remarks: Walker et al. (1961) reported this species as Cynoscion macdonaldi.

This species is listed as 'critically endangered' by the IUCN.

References: (click for full references)

Dill, W.A., and A.J. Cordone. 1997. History and status of introduced fishes in California, 1871--1996. California Department of Fish and Game. Fish Bulletin 178.

Fischer, W., F. Krupp, W. Schneider, C. Sommer, K.E. Carpenter, V.H. Niem. 1995. Guía FAO para la identificatión de especies para los fines de la pesca. Pacifico centro-oriental. Volumen III. Vertebrados - Parte 2. Vol. III: 1201--1813. Roma, FAO.

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

Other Resources:
IUCN Red List

FishBase Summary

Author: Fuller, P.

Revision Date: 2/19/2020

Peer Review Date: 9/13/2011

Citation Information:
Fuller, P., 2021, Totoaba macdonaldi (Gilbert, 1890): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=961, Revision Date: 2/19/2020, Peer Review Date: 9/13/2011, Access Date: 5/12/2021

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.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2021]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [5/12/2021].

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