Rio Grande cutthroat trout
|Rio Grande cutthroat trout|
|Rio Grande cutthroat trout from the Conejos watershed in southern Colorado|
|Subspecies:||O. c. virginalis|
|Oncorhynchus clarki virginalis
(C. F. Girard, 1856)
It is one of 14 subspecies of cutthroat trout native to the western United States, and is the state fish of New Mexico. Cutthroat trout were the first New World trout encountered by Europeans when in 1541, Spanish explorer Francisco de Coronado recorded seeing trout in the Pecos River near Santa Fe, New Mexico. These were most likely Rio Grande cutthroat trout (O. c. virginalis)
Rio Grande cutthroat trout typically spawn between mid-May and mid-June. Males are sexually mature at age two; females mature at age three. They live an average of five years, but in rare cases, may survive into their teens. Rio Grande cutthroat feed opportunistically on aquatic insects and terrestrial insects that fall into the water.
Rio Grande cutthroat trout have irregular shaped spots that are concentrated behind the dorsal fin, smaller less numerous spots located primarily above the lateral line anterior to the dorsal fin, and basibranchial teeth that are minute or absent. Rio Grande cutthroat trout are light rose to red-orange on the sides and pink or yellow-orange on the belly.
Rio Grande cutthroats currently live on 150 miles of stream in the Santa Fe National Forest, which is only 15% of their historical range. According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 13 core populations remain in the wild. These are the key to the survival of the species. Four of the 13 core populations are located in the Santa Fe National Forest. As of 2013, the Rio Grande cutthroat trout was a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act.
- Pritchard, Victoria and Cowley, David (2006). "Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout: A Technical Conservation Assessment". Retrieved 2014-07-10.
- Trotter, Patrick C. (2008). "Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout". Cutthroat: Native Trout of the West (2nd ed.). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. pp. 421–447. ISBN 978-0-520-25458-9.
- Behnke, Robert J.; Tomelleri, Joseph R. (illustrator) (2002). "Cutthroat trout Oncorhynchus clarki". Trout and Salmon of North America. The Free Press. p. 139. ISBN 0-7432-2220-2.
- "Species Profile Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout". U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Retrieved 2014-07-10.