Rare Fish Added to Endangered Species List

July 23, 2014

(Photo courtesy of New Mexico Department of Game and Fish)
Zuni Bluehead Sucker

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will list a fish found along the Arizona-New Mexico border under the Endangered Species Act. 

The Zuni bluehead sucker will officially join the list late next month. The feds said the fish faces several challenges, including loss of habitat, the spread of non-native species, wildfire and drought.

The fish is small and shaped like a torpedo. The Fish and Wildlife Service said it is found in the headwaters of the Little Colorado River and Zuni River watersheds in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico.

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned for federal protection for the fish in 2004 and said the listing being published in the Federal Registry will help protect the Little Colorado River's headwaters from water withdrawals.

Biologists said the fish has seen its population shrink dramatically in the past 20 years. They said in New Mexico it has disappeared from as much as 90 percent of its range.