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Endangered Species Law and Policy

Status of Spikedace and Loach Minnow Changed to Endangered

Posted in Listing

In a final rule (pdf) published today, the Fish and Wildlife Service ("Service") uplisted the spikedace (Meda fulgida) and loach minnow (Tiaroga cobitis) from threatened to endangered under the Endangered Species Act.  The Service also revised the designation of critical habitat for both species.  In total, approximately 630 miles are designated as critical habitat for spikedace and 610 miles are designated as critical habitat for loach minnow.  The critical habitat designations are in Arizona and New Mexico.  The Service excluded portions of the upper San Pedro River in Arizona as well as some Tribal lands and private lands in Arizona and New Mexico. 

Threats to both species include groundwater pumping, surface water diversions, impoundments, and channelization.  These changes to the flow  regime may decrease the amount of available habitat.  However, competition with or predation by nonnative species is considered the largest remaining threat to the species.  According to the Service, spikedace and loach minnow previously had a relatively widespread distribution covering portions of Arizona, New Mexico, and northern Mexico, but currently it is estimated that spikedace occur in only 10 percent of their former range and loach minnow occur in 10 to 20 percent of their former range.