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Volume 73—1993

{Page 67}

Two Potential Sources of Exotic Fish in Oklahoma

Jimmie Pigg1, John Stahl2, Mark Ambler3 and Jim Smith3

1Oklahoma State Department of Health, Environmental Services Laboratory, Oklahoma City, OK 73117-1299
2Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Byron State Fish Hatchery, Byron, OK 73723
3Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, Northeastern Regional Offices, Porter, OK 74454

Received: 1992 Dec 14; Revised: 1993 Mar 15; Accepted: 1993 Apr 10

In the summer of 1991 a commercial bait dealer delivered a shipment of fathead minnows to the Byron State Fish Hatchery near Byron, OK; the shipment originated in Minnesota. Mixed with the fatheads were five brook stickleback, Culaea inconstans. This occurrence illustrates how this exotic fish could be introduced into Oklahoma waters. The collected specimens were deposited in the Oklahoma State University Collection of Vertebrates (OSUS #253510).

On April 20, 1992, two bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis), each weighting 18 kg, were snagged by fisher persons in the Neosho (Grand) River at Miami Riverview Park, 0.5 km S of Miami (T27N, R22E, S3), Ottawa County. Photographs of these fish were displayed in the Miami bait shop.

The specimens were identified by Ambler and his identification was confirmed by Rob Friggeri of the Kansas Fish and Game Commission. During July, 1992, a 19-kg specimen was caught from the Grand River near Pensacola (T33N, R21E, S30) in Mayes County, below Grand Lake, an impoundment on the Neosho River. A photograph of this catch appeared in the Grand River Chronicle of 23 July 1992.

The bighead carp was illegally brought into southeast Kansas by a commercial fish farmer in 1988 (Doug Nygrene, Kansas Parks and Wildlife Department, personal communication). The Kansas Fish and Game Commission obtained a court order (Butler County Court, KS; filed 7 January 1989 on C.L. Corbin) that forced the fish farmer to eliminate his stock of this species. Releases of those fish may explain the occurrence of the bighead carp in the Grand River.