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Record of a White Sturgeon, Acipenser transmontanus from Bahia de Todos Santos, Baja California, Mexico, found at the Ensenada Sea Food Market.

The white sturgeon, Acipenser transmontanus (Richardson 1836), is an anadromous fish that lives primarily in freshwater or estuaries, and infrequently meanders in the ocean. Most of fish are found in river systems, with the Sacramento-San Joaquin River system (California) and Columbia River system (Oregon/Washington) containing the largest populations (Love 1996). In summer, they migrate into shallow warm waters of rivers or toward the shores for breeding purposes. They are benthic and long-lived fish species that inhabit the shallow sand and mud bottoms (Love 1996). The distribution of Acipenser transmontanus range from Northern Baja California (Love 1996), or from Ensenada, Baja California (Mexico) to Gulf of Alaska (Miller and Lea 1972).

Bahia de Todos Santos is located at Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, (31[degrees]40,-31[degrees]56'N, 116[degrees]36'-116[degrees]50'W), and fish studies at the bay began in the early 1980's with a variety of gear types including spear guns at kelp beds (Diaz-Diaz 1983; Diaz-Diaz and Hammann 1987), trawl tows on sandy bottoms Hammann and Rosales-Casian (1990), and creel surveys (Rodriguez-Medrano 1993). In addition, research on the fish community of Todos Santos bay and also in Bahia and Costa de San Quintin was conducted between 1992 and 1995 using five different gears: beam-trawl, otter-trawl, beach-seine, gillnet, and hook-and-line (Rosales-Casian 1997a, 2004). Recently, a study of the artisanal fishery from eight fishing camps along northwestern coast of Baja California was also completed (Rosales-Casian and Gonzalez 2003). All those studies failed to collect any specimens of white sturgeon.

The Seafood Market of Ensenada Port has been surveyed monthly since September 2000 (Hernandez-Hernandez 2002). During this monitoring program on March 15, 2003, we observed a white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus), which was captured on same day with a bottom trap close to the Isla de Todos Santos located in Bahia de Todos Santos. The specimen was fresh and complete but eviscerated, and the testes were still in the body. This male was in stage III: maturation (Nikolsky 1963; Cailliet et al 1986). The white sturgeon was 1,228-mm total length (TL) and a somatic weight of 6,366 g. In California waters, the males mature at TL 1,097-1,828 mm (Love 1996).

The white sturgeon was identified by the combination of the following characteristics: body coloration was grayish-white with five rows of bony plates (scutes) on its body. The head was short and robust with the four long barbells (5cm) located in the front and closer to the snout tip than to the mouth. The mouth was underneath the head, and the number of the midlateral bony plates was 40.

Another white sturgeon, Acipenser transmontanus, was collected at Flat Rock, Rancho Palos Verdes in Los Angeles County on April 24, 2003. SL 1,220, TL 1,940, and 20.5 kilos. It was caught in an overnight gill net set as part of a white seabass monitoring project (Pondella and Allen 2000). Latitude 33[degrees]47'54" N, Longitude 118[degrees]24'73"W, depth 6.3 meters (Daniel Pondella, personal communication, Vantuna Research Group, Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA).

The record of this specimen is important because it reconfirms the southern range of white sturgeon, increases the list of fish species that have been collected or registered at Bahia de Todos Santos, Baja California, Mexico, and re-establishes a well-documented reference.

Accepted for publication 16 March 2005.


We thank the fish vendors at the Mercado de Mariscos del Puerto de Ensenada, to allow our study and by the inconveniences of the fish handling during their operations.

Literature Cited

Cailliet, G. M., M. S. Love and A. W. Ebeling. 1986. A field and laboratory manual on their structure, identification and natural history. Wads Worth Publishing Company, Belmont California, USA. 194 p.

Diaz-Diaz,. 1983. Aspectos troficos de algunas especies de peces asociadas a un manto de Macrocystis pyrifera en la Bahia de Todos Santos, Baja California (Primavera-Verano, 1982). Bachelor thesis. Escuela Superior de Ciencias Marinas (UABC), Ensenada, B.C. 61 p.

Diaz-Diaz M. E. and M. G. Hammann. 1987. Relaciones troficos de los peces associadas a un manto de Macrocystis pyrifera en la Bahia de Todos Santos, Baja California, Mexico. Ciencias Marinas 13(4):81-96.

Hammann, M. G. and J. A. Rosales-Casian, 1990. Taxonomia y estructura de la comunidad de peces del Estero de Punta Banda y Bahia de Todos Santos, Baja California, Mexico. Cap. 6:153-192. En Rosas-Velez J. de la y E Gonzalez-Farias (eds). Temas de Oceanografia Biologica en Mexico. Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, Ensenada, B.C. 337 p.

Hernandez-Hernandez, A. 2002. Composicion especifica de los peces escama comercializados en el Mercado de Mariscos del Puerto de Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. Facultad de Ciencias Biologicas, Universidad Autonoma del Estado de Morelos. Cuernavaca, Morelos (Mexico). 60 p.

Love, M. S. 1996. Probably more than you Want to know about the fishes of the Pacific coast. Really Big Press, Santa Barbara, CA. 215 p.

Miller, D. J. and R. N. Lea. 1972. Guide to the coastal marine fishes of California. Bulletin of the California Department of Fish and Game No. 157, 235 p.

Nikolsky, G. V. 1963. The ecology of fishes. Academic Press Inc., New York, USA. 329 p.

Pondella, Daniel J., II, and Larry G. Allen. 2000. The nearshore fish assemblage of Santa Catalina Island. In The Proceedings of the Fifth California Islands Symposium, David R. Browne, Kathryn L. Mitchell and Henry W. Chaney editors. Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara, California: 394-400.

Richardson, J. 1836. The fish. In: Fauna Boreali-Americana; the zoology of the northern parts of British America. Part 3, Vancouver, Washington, USA. 327 p.

Rodriguez-Medrano, M. del C. 1993. Descripcion y analisis de la pesca deportiva en Bahia de Todos Santos, Ensenada, B.C.M.S. Thesis, CICESE. 88 p.

Rosales-Casian, J. A. 1997a. Estructura de la comunidad de peces y el uso de los ambientes de bahias, lagunas y costa abierta en el Pacifico norte de Baja California. Ph.D. Thesis, Ecologia Marina, CICESE. 201 p.

Rosales-Casian, J. A. 1997b. Inshore soft-bottom fishes of two coastal lagoons on the northern Pacific coast of Baja California. CalCOFI Rep. 38:180-192.

Rosales-Casian, J. A. and J. R. Gonzalez. 2003. Abundance and importance of fish species from the artisanal fishery on the Pacific Coast of Northern Baja California. Bull. Southern California Acad. Sci. 102(2):51-65.

Rosales-Casian, J. A. 2004. Composition, importance and movement of fishes from San Quintin Bay, Baja California, Mexico. Ciencias Marinas 30 (1A):109-117.

J. A. Rosales-Casian and R. Ruz-Cruz

Centro de Investigacion Cientifica y de Educacion Superior de Ensenada, B.C. Division de Oceanologia, Departamento de Ecologia Grupo e Ecologia Pesquera

Km 107 carretera Tijuana-Ensenada, Ensenada, B.C., Mexico
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Author:Rosales-Casian, J.A.; Ruz-Cruz, R.
Publication:Bulletin (Southern California Academy of Sciences)
Geographic Code:1MEX
Date:Dec 1, 2005
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