DESCRIPTION: Chunky body shape, small mouth, and distinctive scales. Dusky olive above with a blue or creamy white belly, this fish shows copper on either side of its head and copper or gold along the sides of its body. Adults are usually about 10-13 cm (4-5 in) in standard length, although some grow much larger.
HABITAT: Owens tui chubs with undercut banks or aquatic plants to provide cover from predatory birds. Owens tui chubs of all ages spend the winter in deeper waters and may, like Mohave tui chubs, lie on the bottom in a semi dormant state.
Present: Small native populations today occupy four locations within the former range: the Owens River Gorge; Fish Slough; springs feeding the California Department of Fish and Game's Hot Creek Hatchery; and a spring system near Owens Dry Lake. Owens tui chubs have also been introduced into a waterfowl pond on Little Hot Creek in Inyo National Forest, the Owens Valley Native Fishes Sanctuary near Bishop, and an artificial pond at Mule Springs, all in Inyo County.
THREATS AND/OR REASONS FOR DECLINE: Widespread interbreeding with other tui chubs. Largemouth bass and other introduced game fish continue to prey on tui chubs in protected habitat, primarily the owens Valley Native Fishes Sanctuary near Bishop in Inyo County. Biologists believe that local anglers, unable to accept the refuge's new function, continue to illegally stock it with bass. Other habitat has been lost or degraded as a result of water projects. Most notably, in 1913 the Los Angeles Aqueduct Project diverted nearly all the water from the Owens river to Los Angeles .
Historic: Once inhabited Crowley Lake, Owens Lake, the owens River and its tributaries, and springs and irrigation ditches throughout the Owens River basin, in Mono and Inyo counties.
OTHER INFORMATION: A small population of the nearly extinct Owens tui chub dwells in the Owens Valley Native Fishes Sanctuary, developed to defend local native fishes from introduced species.
Life on the Edge. Biosystems Books 1994. Santa Cruz, California