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.

Dorosoma cepedianum
Dorosoma cepedianum
(Gizzard Shad)
Native Transplant
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Dorosoma cepedianum (Lesueur, 1818)

Common name: Gizzard Shad

Synonyms and Other Names: hickory shad

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Becker (1983); Whitehead (1985); Page and Burr (1991); Etnier and Starnes (1993).

Size: 52 cm.

Native Range: St. Lawrence-Great Lakes(?), Mississippi, Atlantic, and Gulf Slope drainages from Quebec to central North Dakota and New Mexico, and south to central Florida and Mexico (Page and Burr 1991).

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

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

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 Dorosoma cepedianum are found here.

StateYear of earliest observationYear of last observationTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
Arizona200020105Grand Canyon; Havasu-Mohave Lakes; Lake Mead; Lower Lake Powell; Upper Salt
Colorado1952201216Big Thompson; Cache La Poudre; Colorado Headwaters; Colorado Headwaters-Plateau; Fountain; Huerfano; Lower Green-Diamond; Lower White; Lower Yampa; Middle South Platte-Cherry Creek; Missouri Region; Rush; South Platte; St. Vrain; Upper Arkansas; Upper South Platte
Florida1948201511Big Cypress Swamp; Caloosahatchee; Everglades; Florida Southeast Coast; Kissimmee; Lake Okeechobee; Northern Gulf of Mexico; Northern Okeechobee Inflow; Peace; Vero Beach; Western Okeechobee Inflow
Indiana195319802Lake Michigan; Little Calumet-Galien
Iowa201720171Little Sioux
Kansas1961201214Cow; Lower North Fork Solomon; Lower South Fork Solomon; Middle Smoky Hill; Ninnescah; North Fork Ninnescah; Pawnee; Prairie Dog; Rattlesnake; South Fork Ninnescah; Upper North Fork Solomon; Upper Saline; Upper Smoky Hill; Upper South Fork Solomon
Kentucky198619863Rockcastle; Upper Cumberland; Upper Cumberland-Lake Cumberland
Maine200020032Lower Kennebec; Saco
Michigan1932199121Betsie-Platte; Black-Macatawa; Boardman-Charlevoix; Brevoort-Millecoquins; Fishdam-Sturgeon; Huron; Kalamazoo; Lake St. Clair; Lower Grand; Manistee; Manistique; Maple; Muskegon; Pere Marquette-White; Pine; St. Clair; St. Joseph; Tahquamenon; Thornapple; Upper Grand; Waiska
Nebraska200420072Middle North Platte-Scotts Bluff; Prairie Dog
Nevada200820081Lake Mead
New Mexico199520002Chaco; Rio Grande-Santa Fe
New York197819875Hudson-Wappinger; Middle Hudson; Mohawk; Rondout; Upper Susquehanna
North Carolina196819935Nolichucky; Pigeon; Upper French Broad; Upper Little Tennessee; Watauga
South Dakota200620172Angostura Reservoir; Lower Lake Oahe
Tennessee1966199414Caney; Emory; Holston; Lower Clinch; Lower French Broad; Lower Little Tennessee; Nolichucky; Obey; Powell; South Fork Cumberland; Tuckasegee; Upper Cumberland-Cordell Hull Reservoir; Watauga; Watts Bar Lake
Texas195419871Northern Gulf of Mexico
Utah199020085Lower Green-Desolation Canyon; Lower Lake Powell; Lower San Juan; Lower Weber; Upper Lake Powell
Vermont199319932Richelieu; Richelieu River
Virginia198019944North Fork Holston; Powell; South Fork Holston; Upper Clinch
Wisconsin1953200910Door-Kewaunee; Lake Michigan; Lake Winnebago; Lower Fox; Manitowoc-Sheboygan; Milwaukee; Oconto; Pike-Root; Upper Fox; Wolf
Wyoming199420154Big Horn; Cheyenne; Glendo Reservoir; Upper Belle Fourche

Table last updated 6/5/2018

† Populations may not be currently present.

* HUCs are not listed for states where the observation(s) cannot be approximated to a HUC (e.g. state centroids or Canadian provinces).

Means of Introduction: These fish were stocked intentionally for forage. The Wyoming populations also spread from introductions into Nebraska (Baxter and Simon 1970). In Pennsylvania, gizzard shad were stocked accidentally with American shad (Denoncourt et al. 1975a). In Vermont, they have expanded their range through the Connecticut River assisted by fishways that were constructed for American shad Alosa sapidissima and Atlantic salmon Salmo salar restoration (Cox, personal communication). They likely gained access to Lake Champlain through the Hudson Barge Canal that links the lake to the Hudson River (Cox, personal communication). They gained access to Lake Michigan through either the Chicago River Canal or the Fox-Wisconsin Canal (Becker 1983), and to Lake Erie through the Ohio Canal (Jordan 1882).
Gizzard shad gained access into the Colorado River in 2000 after some escaped Morgan Lake in NW New Mexico, where they were accidentally stocked with largemouth bass (Knowels 2002).  By early 2008, they were found as far downstream as the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

Status: Established in many states.

Impact of Introduction: Competition for food between gizzard shad and other fish species may occur (Burns 1966; Moyle 1976). Jenkins (1994) found that gizzard shad directly compete with centrarchids resulting in decreased growth and size of the centrarchids. Aday et al. (2003) foud that gizzard shad caused reduced growth rates and maximum size in bluegill. In addition, Aday et al. (2003) found that gizzard shad can significantly increase phytoplankton levels, subsequently increasing turbidity and potentially impacting visual predators. Gizzard shad show tremendous invasion potential. After only two plantings totally 1020 fish in Lake Havasu, the species spread through the Colorado River from Davis Dam southward to the Mexican border, the Salton Sea, and associated irrigation ditches within only 18 months (Burns 1966).

Remarks: The gizzard shad has expanded its range naturally since the 1600s to include Massachusetts (O'Leary and Smith 1987; Hartel 1992). Jordan (1882) stated that the gizzard shad was not found in Lake Erie prior to completion of the Ohio Canal. Cold weather limits this species' northern range (Becker 1983). Propst and Carlson (1986) believe the gizzard shad may be native to the South Platte drainage in Colorado.

References: (click for full references)

Aday, D.D., R.J.H. Hoxmeier, and D.H. Wahl. 2003. Direct and indirect effects of gizzard shad on bluegill growth and population size structure. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 132:47-56.

Baxter, G. T., and J. R. Simon. 1970. Wyoming fishes. Wyoming Game and Fish Department Bulletin 4, Cheyenne, WY. 168 pp.

Beckman, W. C. 1952. Guide to the fishes of Colorado. University of Colorado Museum, Boulder, CO.

Bouc, K. 1987. The fish book. Nebraskaland Magazine 65(1):1-130.

Burns, J.W. 1966. Threadfin shad. Pages 481-488 in Calhoun, A, ed. Inland fisheries management. California Department of Fish and Game. Sacramento, CA.

Burr, B. M., and M. L. Warren, Jr. 1986. A distributional atlas of Kentucky fishes. Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission Scientific and Technical Series 4. 398 pp.

Cox, K. - Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, North Springfield, VT.

Cross, F. B. 1967. Handbook of Fishes of Kansas. State Biological Survey and University of Kansas Museum of Natural History, Miscellaneous Publication 45, Topeka, KS.

Denoncourt, R. F., T. B. Robbins, and R. Hesser. 1975a. Recent introductions and reintroductions to the Pennsylvania fish fauna of the Susquehanna River drainage above Conowingo Dam. Proceedings of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science 49:57-58.

Hartel, K. E. 1992. Non-native fishes known from Massachusetts freshwaters. Occasional Reports of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Fish Department, Cambridge, MA. 2. September. pp. 1-9.

Hubert, W. 1994. Exotic fish. Pages 158-174 in T. L. Parrish, and S. H. Anderson, editors. Exotic species manual. Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Laramie, WY.

Jenkins, R. E., and N. M. Burkhead. 1994. Freshwater fishes of Virginia. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD.

Knowles, S. 2002. Fish and Wildlife blunders in Lake Powell. Salt Lake Tribune. 2002(27 August).

Miller, R. R. 1957. Origin and dispersal of the alewife, Alosa pseudoharengus, and the gizzard shad, Dorosoma cepecianum, in the Great Lakes. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 86:97-111.

Minckley, W. L., and L. A. Krumholz. 1960. Natural hybridization between the clupeid genera Dorosoma and Signalosa, with a report on the distribution of S. petenensis. Zoologica 44(4):171-180.

Moyle, P.B. 1976. Inland fishes of California. University of California Press Berkeley, CA. http://books.google.com/books?id=8ZCStnV581kC&printsec=frontcover&dq=fishes+of+california&hl=en&sa=X&ei=t0dOT-P-Nsna0QH88rS7Ag&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=fishes%20of%20california&f=false.

O'Leary, J., and D. G. Smith. 1987. Occurrence of the first migration of the gizzard shad, (Dorosoma cepedianum), in the Connecticut River, Massachussetts. U.S. National Marine Service Fishery Bulletin 85(2):380-383.

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.

Schmidt, B. - Chief Fisheries Mangement, Division of Wildlife Resources, Salt Lake City, UT. Response to NBS-G non-indigenous questionaire. 1992.

Smith, C. L. 1985. The inland fishes of New York state. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY. 522 pp.

Smith, P. W. 1979. The fishes of Illinois. University of Illinois Press, Urbana, IL.

Wibur, J. - Bureau of Reclamation, Albuquerque, NM.

Woodling, J. 1985. Colorado's little fish: a guide to the minnows and other lesser known fishes in the state of Colorado. Colorado Division of Wildlife, Denver, CO. 77 pp.

FishBase Summary

Author: Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson

Revision Date: 4/12/2013

Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016

Citation Information:
Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson, 2018, Dorosoma cepedianum (Lesueur, 1818): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx?SpeciesID=492, Revision Date: 4/12/2013, Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016, Access Date: 7/16/2018

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 [7/16/2018].

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