Common name: Tautog
available through www.itis.gov
Identification: Manooch (1984); Robins and Ray (1986); Murdy et al. (1997).
Size: 91 cm, 10 kg.
Native Range: Marine; tautog are native to the Atlantic coast from Nova Scotia to South Carolina (Robins and Ray 1986).
Two attempts have been made to stock these fish on the west coast. The first was made in 1873, when Livingston Stone made his famous ill-fated journey across the continent with east coast fishes in an aquarium railroad car. The entire shipment was lost in the Elkhorn River near Omaha, Nebraska, when a railroad bridge collapsed (Smith 1896). The tautogs did not survive. The second attempt was a year later. This time he made it to California. The tautogs were stocked in San Francisco Bay near Oakland (Smith 1896) but apparently did not take hold. A second attempt was made in 1897 when a few hundred more fish were stocked, again without success (Shebley 1917).
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 Tautoga onitis are found here.
Table last updated 12/9/2023
† Populations may not be currently present.
Means of Introduction: Accidental in Nebraska, intentionally stocked in California.
Status: Extirpated in both Nebraska and California.
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.
References: (click for full references)
DeKay, J.E. 1842. Natural history of New York. I. Zoology. Reptiles and fishes. Part IV - fishes. W.A. White and J. Visscher, Albany, NY.
Goode, G.B. 1884. The fisheries and fish industries of the United States. Section I: natural history of useful aquatic animals. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.
Jordan, D.S., and C.H. Gilbert. 1882. Synopsis of the fishes of North America. Bulletin of the U.S. National Museum 16. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.
Manooch, C.S. 1984. Fisherman's guide, fishes of the southwestern United States. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, NC.
Murdy, E.O., R.S. Birdsong, and J.A. Musick. 1997. Fishes of Chesapeake Bay. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC.
Robins, C.R., and G.C. Ray. 1986. A field guide to Atlantic Coast fishes of North America. The Peterson Guide Series, volume 32. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.
Shebley, W.H. 1917. History of introduction of food and game fishes into the waters of California. California Fish and Game 3:3-12.
Smith, H.M. 1896. A review of the history and results of the attempts to acclimatize fish and other water animals in the Pacific States. Bulletin of the U.S. Fish Commission for 1895, 15:379-472.
Revision Date: 4/20/2018
Peer Review Date: 1/31/2012
Fuller, P., 2023, Tautoga onitis (Linnaeus, 1758): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx?SpeciesID=754, Revision Date: 4/20/2018, Peer Review Date: 1/31/2012, Access Date: 12/9/2023
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.