State Fish Of New Mexico
New Mexico Cutthroat Trout Is The State Fish Of New Mexico. New Mexico Adopted the native New Mexico cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki virginalis) as the official State fish in 1955. Also called Rio Grande cutthroat trout, this fish requires clean, clear, cold flowing water. The New Mexico State Fish Rio Grande cutthroat trout is native to streams in the Rio Grande Basin, including waters on the Santa Fe National Forest. Rio Grande cutthroat trout is the State Fish of New Mexico and is the only cutthroat trout native to the state. Yet, over the years, the habitat has shrunk and the population has declined. The fish is found in less than 7% of its historic range. The decline can be attributed in part to the introduction of non-natives, such as the German brown trout and rainbow trout. This has recently been complicated by the introduction of a devastating parasite which whirling disease.
The Facts About Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout
- One of 14 subspecies of New Mexico State Fish cutthroat trout native to the western United States.
- Occupies 150 miles of the stream on the Santa Fe National Forest; only 15% of its historical range.
- According to U.S. Wildlife Service, 13 core populations remain in the world. Core populations are the key to the survival of the species. Four core populations reside in the Santa Fe National Forest.
- Typically spawn between the middle of May and the middle of June.
- Evolved in New Mexico as a member of a native fish assemblage that included longnose dace, Rio Grande chub and Rio Grande sucker.
- Males are sexually mature at age 2; females at age 3; will live on an average of five years; in rare cases, cutthroat trout have been known to enter their teens.
- Feed opportunistically on aquatic insects and terrestrial insects that fall into the water.
- Unfortunately, State Fish Of New Mexico Rio Grande Cutthroat trout can hybridize with non-native rainbow trout, depleting the gene pool and weakening the population.
- Non-native German Brown Trout are piscivorous, which means they eat other fish, including our native cutthroat trout.