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Recent pronghorn (Antilocapra americana) translocations to southern California and the establishment of captive populations of endangered desert pronghorn have revived interest in the historical occurrence of pronghorn in the Californias. Adding to this interest is the recent widespread replacement of coastal sage scrub vegetation in southern California by annual grasslands more favorable to pronghorn. We have searched the scientific and popular literature, as well as museum collections, to locate pronghorn antelope occurrences from below San Francisco Bay southward through the Baja California peninsula. Our results show that pronghorn were widely distributed, and often abundant, on nearly all of the plains and valleys on both sides of the Coastal and Peninsular ranges to at least as far south as the Magdalena Plain.
Although the U.S. Geological Survey lists more than 30 “Antelope” place names in California south of Parallel 38° North,6, pronghorn were extirpated from southern California prior to 1950, and the species is now endangered in Lower California (O'Gara and Yoakum 2004). Then, beginning in 1987, translocated pronghorn were reintroduced to San Luis Obispo, Kern, and Los Angeles counties in southern California (Koch and Yoakum 2002). Captive populations of the endangered Antilocapra americana peninsularis in Baja California Sur and Antilocapra americana sonoriensis in southwest Arizona have also been established with the intention of eventually restoring desert pronghorn to historic habitats. These efforts, at least some of which appear to be successful, coupled with the recent replacement of large areas of coastal sage scrub by annual grasslands more conducive to pronghorn (Weislander 1934; Minnich and Dezzani 1998) prompted us to aid in the evaluation of additional releases by documenting the historic occurrences of “antelope” and berrendos in southern California, Baja California and Baja California Sur.
The sex allocation pattern of various populations of spotted sand bass are thought to vary from functional gonochorism to strict protogyny. The development of hypotheses explaining how such a plastic (flexible) strategy has been maintained selectively has been hindered by a general lack of information on reproductive behavior in this species. Therefore, the spawning behavior of adult, wild-caught spotted sand bass were observed in captivity under a variety of densities. Three distinct spawning modes were observed: 1) pair spawning, 2) group spawning, and 3) spawning including a sneaker male. Courtship was characterized by the following sequence: 1) a male or males approach the females, 2) one or more males make contact with the ventro-lateral surface of the female and chase the female, 3) the male contacts the ventro-lateral surface of the female and pushes her through a vertical spawning rush. Spawning behavior involved ephemeral color changes, persistent physical contact initiated by the male, short rushes beginning near structure and ending in a vertical rush with a gamete release.
In general, in low density groups, reproductive activity was dominated by a single male that actively excluded smaller males from spawning. The dominant male in these groups exclusively engaged in pair spawning. Individuals in groups of higher density spawned in groups, with no observations of large males monopolizing females.
These observations are consistent with the predictions of the size-advantage hypothesis regarding mating strategies in fishes. We propose that these three spawning modes and the frequency with which they occur allow the flexibility seen in the mating strategies of isolated populations of spotted sand bass.
A new species of sciaenid, Seriphus lavenbergi sp. nov., is described from the late Miocene Yorba Member of the Puente Formation, southern California. The holotype is represented by an incomplete disarticulated skull with the right saccular (= sagitta) otolith in situ, an extremely rare occurrence. This is the earliest known geological occurrence of Seriphus and represents a second species within the genus. It is hypothesized that the ancestor of Seriphus emigrated from the Gulf Stream of the Atlantic into the Pacific via the Panama Seaway and the genus evolved entirely in the eastern Pacific.