Creature Feature: Sacramento Splittail

The Sacramento Splittail (Pogonichthys macrolepidotus) is a local species to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta system. Spilttail is a perfect name for this endemic fish. They have an over sized upper lobe of a caudal (tail) fin. Splittails have a silver olive gray back and can grow over 40 cm.

The Sacramento Splittail has been a hot topic in the delta ecosystem. In 2003 they were taken off the threatened species list even though some believed they should have been put on the endangered species list. With persistence from scientists and local agencies in 2010 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service worked on a 12 month study. This study showed that there was no recent decline in the abundance or significant threat to the Splittails.  Findings did show a high spawning period during flood years and a low spawning period during dry years. “If future evidence suggests that these threats are contributing to significant population declines, the Service may propose the species for ESA protection.” (



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