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Woundfin County, Arizona

Information provided for informational purposes only

Note: This information is provided for reference purposes only. Although the information provided here was accurate and current when first created, it is now outdated.

Woundfin [Plagopterus argentissimus]

The Woundfin is a streamlined, silvery minnow about 3 inches in length. It has leathery skin, without scales, and has sensors on its lips. It feeds on algae, detritus, seeds, insects, and larvae and is commonly found in shallow, swift flowing water over sand or gravel bottoms or in adjacent pools. The reproductive cycle of this fish is believed to be triggered by lengthening daylight, increasing temperature, and declining spring runoff in late May.

Historically, the Woundfin's range was in the Colorado and Gila river basins in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. The woundfin now occurs only in the Virgin River. The range extends 36 miles in Utah downstream from the mouth of LaVerkin Creek, 35 miles through the northwest corner of Arizona, and then 12 miles in Nevada down to Lake Mead. There are no population estimates.

Dams, canals, reservoirs, and other water diversions for irrigation and municipal uses have eliminated much of the woundfin habitat. The red shiner, a non-native fish, continues to threaten woundfin populations despite efforts to eliminate them from the Virgin River. Local authorities have also tried to transplant the Woundfin into a number of rivers and creeks but reproduction at these sites has not been successful.

Matthews, J.R. (ed.), The Official World Wildlife Fund Guide to Endangered Species Vol.II, Beacham Publishing Inc, Washington, DC. pp. 926-927.

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