Zoogoneticus tequila 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Cyprinodontiformes Goodeidae

Scientific Name: Zoogoneticus tequila Webb & Miller, 1998
Common Name(s):
English Tequila Splitfin
Spanish Picote Tequila
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N. (ed.). 2015. Catalog of Fishes. Updated 3 August 2015. Available at: (Accessed: 3 August 2015).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii); D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2009
Date Assessed: 2007-03-01
Needs updating
Assessor(s): Snoeks, J., Laleye, P. & Contreras-MacBeath, T.
Reviewer(s): Collen, B., Darwall, W., Ram, M. & Smith, K. (SRLI Freshwater Fish Evaluation Workshop)
Assessed as Critically Endangered due to this species having a very small extent of occurrence and area of occupancy, with the total population thought to be numbering less than 50 mature individuals. It appears to exist in only one locality; a small pool, and is under continued threat by introduced species and habitat degradation.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is known only from Rio Teuchitlan of the Rio Ameca drainage, in Mexico. It was re-discovered in 2003 in a very small lake.
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Number of Locations:1
Lower depth limit (metres):1
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Collection efforts since 1992 were unsuccessful, and it was thought that this species may be extinct in the wild (Miller, 2005), however, an extremely small population of Z. tequila was found in 2000-2001 in a very small pond. This population is composed of less than 500 individuals of all ages. Less than 50 individuals are adults (De La Vega-Salazar et al., 2003).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:50
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Z. tequila is a benthopelagic fish that generally inhabits rivers, but now appears to only exist in one small pond. The type locality was at an elevation of 1311 m, where specimens were usually caught in the quiet part of the river, at a depth of less than 1 m. The substrate, of mud and silt, was nearly continuously stirred by domestic livestock (Miller 2005). The only known extant population inhabits a spring pool, 4m in diameter with an average depth of 20 cm (De La Vega-Salazar et al. 2003).

Little is known of its biology in the wild. In aquaria, sexual maturity can be reached within six to ten weeks. Broods are known to number as man as 20-29 offspring, but females in their first year of reproduction have fewer than ten (Miller 2005).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

Several exotic species have been introduced near the type locality resulting in declines in native fishes (Miller 2005). A study revealed that densities of Goodeid species were lower, or were absent, in localities in the Teuchitlan River, where introduced species were abundant of where there were more than one introduced species (De La Vega-Salazar et al.)

During recent years, the Teuchitlan River has been degraded after a dam was built. It has been suggested that habitat degradation may be the reason why the extant endemic goodeids are now confined to a small area at the headwaters of the river. Once confined to the springs, the populations of these fish have been fragmented as a consequence of the springs being turned into spas, which prevents the movement of fish between pools (De La Vega-Salazar et al. 2003a).

A compounding threat is the intensive collection of this species by specialized aquarium hobbyists and academics (De La Vega-Salazar et al. 2003b).

The pool in which this species was re-discovered is threatened by pollution and water extraction.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is being maintained in captivity by aquarists in North America and Europe (Miller 2005). It has been recommended that breeding programmes are implemented so the species can be re-introduced into the original, larger pools previously inhabited by this species.

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.1. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Rivers/Streams/Creeks (includes waterfalls)
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.7. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Marshes/Pools (under 8ha)
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
2. Land/water management -> 2.3. Habitat & natural process restoration
3. Species management -> 3.3. Species re-introduction -> 3.3.1. Reintroduction

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:Yes
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.4. Fishing & harvesting aquatic resources -> 5.4.1. Intentional use: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest]
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.11. Dams (size unknown)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.2. Dams & water management/use -> 7.2.8. Abstraction of ground water (unknown use)
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

8. Invasive and other problematic species, genes & diseases -> 8.1. Invasive non-native/alien species/diseases -> 8.1.1. Unspecified species
♦ timing:Ongoing    

9. Pollution -> 9.1. Domestic & urban waste water -> 9.1.3. Type Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Anon. 1999. Fish collection database of the Natural History Museum. Natural History Museum, London, UK.

Carl, H. 2003. Danish fish names. Unpublished, Zoological Museum of Copenhagen.

De La Vega-Salazar, M.Y., Avila-Luna, E. and Macias-Garcia, C. 2003b. Threatened Fishes of the World: Zoogoneticus tequila Webb & Miller 1998 (Goodeidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes 68(1): 14.

De La Vega-Salazar, M.Y., Avila-Luna, E. and Macias-Garcia, C. 2003. Ecological evaluation of local extinction: the case of two genera of endemic Mexican fish, Zoogoneticus and Skiffa. Biodiversity and Conservation 12(10): 2043-2056.

Froese, R. and Pauly, D. 2006. FishBase. Available at:

IUCN. 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2009.2). Available at: (Accessed: 3 November 2009).

Kempkes, M. 2000. Zoogoneticus tequila - ein neuer Hochlandkärpfling. Datz 53(10): 8-10.

Miller, R.R. (with the collaboration of W.L. Minckley and S.M. Norris). 2005. Freshwater Fishes of Mexico. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois.

Nelson, J.S., Crossman, E.J., Espinosa-Pérez, H., Findley, L.T., Gilbert, C.R., Lea, R.N. and Williams, J.D. 2004. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico..

Citation: Snoeks, J., Laleye, P. & Contreras-MacBeath, T. 2009. Zoogoneticus tequila. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009: e.T169395A6617089. . Downloaded on 25 September 2018.
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