SCIENTIFIC NAME: Oncorhynchus apache
HABITAT: Small, cold mountain streams flowing through conifer forests
LIFE HISTORY: Spawning occurs from March to mid-June, depending on stream elevation. Hybridizes easily with non-native rainbow trout. One of two trout native to Arizona.
THREATS: Stream degradation; competition from introduced species
FORMER RANGE: 600 miles of streams in Arizona's White Mountains
CURRENT POPULATION: Uncertain
This olive-gold fish is found only in the mountain streams of eastern Arizona. Early white settlers, fishing for food and sport, severely reduced the population of the once-abundant native fish.
When the rivers were restocked with non-native trout, the new fish outcompeted and interbred with the Apache trout, and its habitat range was soon limited to a stretch of just 30 miles in 12 streams. The White Mountain Apache tribe interceded in the 1940s, closing the streams to fishing; the trout was listed as endangered some 30 years later.
Thanks to joint recovery efforts by the tribe and the government, the trout's listing has been changed from endangered to threatened.
Photos: Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge © John & Karen Hollingsworth/Digital Library Service, USFWS; Chiricahua Leopard Frog © USFWS; Apache trout © John Rinne, USFWS; golden cheeked warbler © Steve Maslowski, USFWS