Nevada Fish & Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region

Big Springs Spinedace
(Lepidomeda mollispinis pratensis)

Photo: Big Springs Spinedace
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cyprinoformes
Family: Cyprinidae
Genus: Lepidomeda
Species: mollispinis
Subspecies: pratensis
Length: 4.5 inches
Lifespan: up to 4 years
Feed: aquatic insects, plant material
  • Small streamlined fish

  • Spinedace have a bright silver coloration
  • Spinedace skin is relatively scaleless, and appears leathery

    Official Status:

      The Big Spring spinedace was first listed on March 28, 1985 . It is currently designated as Threatened in the Entire Range .

    Life History:

    The Big Springs spinedace is a coolwater fish that spawns in spring and early summer. It is believed that they broadcast spawn over gravel substrate. Spinedace are drift feeders, and feed on loose particles and insects that drift downstream in the current.

    Distribution and Habitat:

      The Big Springs spinedace occurs only within Meadow Valley Wash within Condor Canyon , near Panaca, Lincoln County , Nevada . It historically occurred within the outflow of Panaca Big Spring in Panaca. It occurs in high velocity waters, typically at runs near the base of riffles or in plunge pools.


      Historic threats to this species include destruction of habitat and presence of non-native species. Non-native crayfish are abundant within Condor Canyon , which negatively affects the spinedace population. Rainbow trout are also present. Fires and associated siltation from runoff decreases habitat available for spawning, and also allows vegetation such as cattails ( Typha ) to establish. This emergent vegetation increases the amount of sediment deposited in the stream and provides habitat for additional crayfish.

    Fun Fact:


    Spinedace are named for their rigid pectoral and pelvic fin rays, which resemble spines.

    Last updated: April 16, 2014