My Scientific Name
By the Numbers
I can live up to 40 years, grow nearly 6 feet in length and weigh up to 80 pounds. Today, most of us only reach 2 to 3 feet in length because of water temperatures and less food.
How to Identify Me
My scientific name translates to “folded lip” and “pike” in reference to my large mouth folding behind my jaws, and my long streamlined body. My fins are also set far back on my body. I have small eyes and no teeth. I am olive-green and gold in color, with a silvery-white belly. Early settlers called me “Colorado white salmon” because of my looks and migratory behavior.
Why I Matter and What's Been Happening
I was once very abundant in the Colorado River and its tributaries in states from Wyoming and Colorado to California, and I was an important food source for people (Figure 1). Today, many dams prevent me from migrating to my spawning and feeding grounds. Other invasive* non-native fish also have outcompeted me for food. Losing a place to live and lack of food has limited my ability to survive and reproduce. People are working together now to help recover me. They are constructing ways for me to swim around dams; restoring backwater habitat our young fish need to grow; working with dam owners to regulate water flows for my survival; and removing non-native fish that eat young pikeminnows and outcompete me for food.
We were federally listed as endangered in 1967. Today, you will only find two wild populations of us – in the upper part of the Colorado River and in the Green River, and their tributaries. We also are being raised at special hatcheries and stocked into the San Juan River to establish a third population that will spawn new generations in the future.
**A native species is a species that has always occurred in an area naturally, and was not introduced by humans. An invasive species is not native to an area and can cause harm to native plants and animals.