Over the last 100 years, fishes native to the Southwestern United States have faced a myriad of biotic and abiotic pressures which has resulted in most being federally listed as endangered or threatened. Most notably, water diversions and the introduction of non-native fishes have been the primary culprits in causing the downfall of native fish populations. We describe how recent studies of morphology, physiology, and behavior yield insights into the failed (occasionally successful) management of this vanishing biota. We describe how understanding locomotor morphologies, physiologies, and behaviors unique to Southwestern native fishes can be used to create habitats that favor native fishes. Additionally, through realizing differences in morphologies and behaviors between native and non-native fishes, we describe how understanding predator–prey interactions might render greater survivorship of native fishes when stocked into the wild from repatriation programs. Understanding fundamental form–function relationships is imperative for managers to make educated decisions on how to best recover species of concern in the Southwestern United States and worldwide.
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