Archaeological sites in the Salton Basin of southeastern California and along the lower Colorado River provided opportunities to determine which fish species were present prior to extirpations, environmental degradation, and the recession of Lake Cahuilla. These remains also represent the fishes exploited by Native Americans. Bonytail (Gila elegans), razorback sucker (Xyrauchen texanus), Colorado pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus lucius), striped mullet (Mugil cephalus), and machete (Elops affinis) have been recovered from 117 sites in the Salton Basin, once filled by the Colorado River forming Lake Cahuilla. Bonytail and razorback sucker comprise nearly 99% of the remains. Along the lower Colorado River itself, fragmentary elements of bonytail, razorback sucker, Colorado pikeminnow, and roundtail chub (G. robusta) have been recovered, documenting a disappearing native fish fauna. Anatomical details are described that permit identification of diagnostic materials commonly recovered during archaeological excavations.
Gobalet, Kenneth W.; Wake, Thomas A.; and Hardin, Kalie L.
"Archaeological record of native fishes of the lower Colorado River: how to identify their remains,"
Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 65
, Article 5.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol65/iss3/5