The northern leatherside chub (Lepidomeda copei) is a small desert fish in the minnow family that occurs in northern Utah and Nevada, southern and eastern Idaho, and western Wyoming.
Current populations are found in the Bear, Snake, and Green River drainages.
Its common name comes from the leathery appearance created by small scales on a trim, tapering body. Coloration is commonly bluish above and silver below and orange to red coloration may occur on some fins. Individuals can live up to eight years.
Northern leatherside chub occur in small desert streams between elevations of approximately 4,100 and 9,000 feet, with low to moderate velocities. They have relatively broad diets, eating items in both the stream drift and the substrate, with insects comprising a large portion of diet.
Like many western North American non-game fish species, little was known about the northern leatherside chub’s biology, ecology, or status until recently. This species was formerly known as leatherside chub (Gila copei or Snyderichthys copei) but recent scientific investigation indicates that the leatherside chub is actually two species, the northern and southern (Lepidomeda aliciae) leatherside chubs.
Historic range of the northern leatherside chub is unknown, because very few historic sampling events classified minnows at the species level. However, the known range of northern leatherside chub declined over the past 50 years, and the verified current range of the species is now limited to five of the eight documented historical subbasins. Population estimates exist for only a subset of known populations. The current range of the species consists of a set of patchily distributed populations.
October 11, 2011: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service completed a status review of the northern leatherside chub, and concluded it does not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act. We made this finding after a thorough review of all the available scientific and commercial information regarding the status of the northern leatherside chub and threats to the species.
- Federal Register Notice: Octiber 11, 2011 12-Month Finding on a Petition to List Northern Leatherside Chub as Endangered or Threatened
- Press Release: October 11, 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Determines Northern Leatherside Club Does Not Warrant Protection Under the Endangered Species Act
- Questions and Answers