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.

Dallia pectoralis
Dallia pectoralis
(Alaska Blackfish)
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
Dallia pectoralis Bean, 1880

Common name: Alaska Blackfish

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

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
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: 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.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
AK195120054Anchorage; Eastern Bering Sea; Pribilof Islands; Resurrection River-Frontal Resurrection Bay

Table last updated 2/26/2024

† 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.

Remarks: This species was unsuccessfully introduced to southern Ontario, Canada in 1956 when individuals from the Kuskokwim River, Alaska were stocked in farm ponds in southern Ontario (Crossman 1984).

The Alaska Blackfish is a staple part of the diet of indigenous peoples of Alaska (Scott and Crossman 1973; Doug Hill, pers. comm.).

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.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson

Revision Date: 4/30/2018

Peer Review Date: 1/27/2015

Citation Information:
Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson, 2024, 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: 2/27/2024

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.


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. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [2/27/2024].

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