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Fish & Wildlife

The San Joaquin River abounds with fish and wildlife. Read on to discover some of the many species that make up the river ecosystem, and how we can act to protect their habitats along the river.

Vernal pool fairy shrimp (Brachinecta Lynchi)

STATUS: Threatened. This means that we are worried about the species but it is not in danger of extinction right now.

DESCRIPTION: You probably have seen very tiny shrimps in salads. Fairy shrimps are about that size. They are from about 11 to 25 millimeters long. (About 0.4 to 1 inch) They live in vernal pools. (see Habitat below)

 "Fairy" comes from fairy shrimps' delicate, almost transparent bodies and graceful movement.

Least Bell's Vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus)

The least Bell's vireo is a Spring and Summer breeding resident, migrating south for Fall and Winter. It primarily inhabits riparian woodlands, scrub, and thickets for breeding. Population declines due to urban and agricultural development, habitat alteration, and brood parasitism by the brown-headed cowbird.

The vireo was listed as Federally Endangered in 1986, State Endangered in 1980.

California Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense)

Family: Ambystomidae, Mole Salamanders

Description: 6-8 1/2" (15.2-21.6 cm). Black above, with cream to yellow oval spots on head, body, and tail. Belly grayish, occasionally with a few small, dull-yellow spots. Tubercles on feet; toe tips pinkish. Costal grooves, usually 12.

Endangered Status: The California Tiger Salamander is on the U.S. Endangered Species List.

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)

Family: Accipitridae, Hawks and Eagles

Description: 30-41" (76-104 cm). W. 6' 6" (2 m). A large, all-dark eagle with a pale golden nape. Bill smaller and darker than that of Bald Eagle.

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Family: Accipitridae, Hawks and Eagles

Description: 30-31" (76-79 cm). W. 6-7' 6" (1.8-2.3 m). A large blackish eagle with white head and tail and heavy yellow bill. Young birds lack the white head and tail, and resemble adult Golden Eagles, but are variably marked with white and have a black, more massive bill.

Endangered Status: The Bald Eagle, until recently on the U.S.

San Joaquin Kit Fox (Vulpes macrotis mutica)

Family: Canidae, Dogs

Description: A very small, large-eared, leggy fox. Pale tan to yellowish-buff above, turning grayish in winter; whitish below. Tail black-tipped. Feet light-colored. Ears large, triangular, set close together. Dark marks below eye.

Hardhead Catfish (Arius felis)

Taxonomy and Basic Description: Ariopsis felis[PW1] is one of two species of marine catfish, both in the family Ariidae, common to coastal South Carolina estuarine and marine waters. The common name, hardhead catfish, is derived from the presence of a hard, bony plate extending rearward toward the dorsal fin from a line between the catfish’s eyes. The head is moderately flattened with the upper jaw forming a broad arc.

Common Carp (Cyprinus carpio)

Cyprinus carpio  Linnaeus

Biological features:
Body elongated and somewhat compressed. Lips thick. Two pairs of barbels at angle of mouth, shorter ones on the upper lip.  Dorsal fin base long with 17-22 branched rays and a strong, toothed spine in front; dorsal fin outline concave anteriorly.

Tule Perch (Hysterocarpus Traskii)

Classification  Actinopterygii | Perciformes | Embiotocidae 
Synonyms  Hysterocarpus traskii, Dacentrus lucens, Hysterocarpus traskii lagunae
Common names:  Russian river tule perch, Tulebarsch, 
Demersal; freshwater; brackish 
Climate / Range
 Temperate; 41°N - 36°N 
North America: Clear Lake; Russian, Sa

Threespine Stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus)

Family: Gasterosteidae, Sticklebacks

Description: To 4" (10 cm). Fusiform; gray to olive-brown, sides paler, belly silvery; breeding adults reddish on head and belly. Head one-fourth length; lower jaw projects beyond upper. Usually 3 stout, widely separated dorsal spines preceding soft dorsal fin. Caudal peduncle narrow; caudal fin triangular.

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