Chasmistes brevirostris - Cope, 1879
Shortnose Sucker
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Chasmistes brevirostris Cope, 1879 (TSN 163961)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.106479
Element Code: AFCJC03010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Fishes - Bony Fishes - Suckers
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Actinopterygii Cypriniformes Catostomidae Chasmistes
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 20. 183 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B91ROB01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Chasmistes brevirostris
Taxonomic Comments: Genetic introgression with Catostomus snyderi has occurred in the Lost River system and with C. rimiculus in Copco Reservoir (but gene pool relatively intact). Hybrids with Deltistes luxatus or Catostomus snyderi are common in Upper Klamath Lake (Scoppettone and Vinyard 1991).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 02Nov2011
Global Status Last Changed: 19Sep1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Restricted to a small area in Oregon and California, where extensive habitat alteration has resulted in poor recruitment and ongoing declines.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1 (05Dec1996)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States California (S1), Oregon (S1)

Other Statuses

U.S. Endangered Species Act (USESA): LE: Listed endangered (18Jul1988)
Comments on USESA: On May 14, 2002, FWS determined that a petition to remove this species from the U.S. list of threatened and endangered species (U.S. Endangered Species Act) did not include substantial information indicating that delisting was warranted. On June 29, 2009, FWS announced a 90-day finding on a petition to remove the Lost River sucker (Deltistes luxatus) and the shortnose sucker (Chasmistes brevirostris) from the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife. They found that the petition did not present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that removing the Lost River sucker or shortnose sucker from the List was warranted.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Lead Region: R8 - California-Nevada
IUCN Red List Category: EN - Endangered
American Fisheries Society Status: Endangered (01Aug2008)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 5000-20,000 square km (about 2000-8000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Historical range included the upper Klamath River and Lost River basins in Oregon and California (Moyle 2002; USFWS 1994, 2007). Current range in the Lost River drainage includes Clear Lake Reservoir, the main river below the reservoir, the Boles Creek and Willow Creek drainage above the reservoir, Gerber Reservoir, and small reservoirs scattered along the creeks, plus a small population in Tule Lake at the terminus of the Lost River (USFWS 1993, Moyle 2002). Genetic data suggest that the populations in Gerber Reservoir and Clear Lake may not be C. brevirostris (see USFWS 2007); further study is needed. Current range in the Klamath River basin includes Upper Klamath Lake (Oregon) and its major tributaries, (Williamson, Sprague, and Wood rivers) and possibly the lower reaches of smaller tributaries as well (Moyle 2002). Small populations occur in Iron Gate and Copco reservoirs on the Klamath River (USFWS 1993, Moyle 2002).

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by only two primary populations. Other populations, such as those in the Klamath River reservoirs, are apparently sustaining themselves with the input of larvae or older suckers from other areas (i.e., those in Upper Klamath Lake and Clear Lake) (USFWS 2007).

Population Size: 10,000 - 100,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but likely exceeds 10,000..

Overall Threat Impact: Very high - high
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Spawning migrations have declined significantly in recent years, due in part to alteration of habitat (especially damming). Chiloquin Dam, constructed in 1928 on the Sprague River, Oregon, cut off 85% of spawning range; recruitment has been essentially nonexistent in recent decades (Scoppettone and Vinyard 1991).

Human-caused increases in nutrient inputs to Upper Klamath Lake have resulted in massive summer and fall blooms of cyanobacteria and elevated lake pH levels of 9.5-10.5, which in turn have led to mass mortalities and curtailed reproduction of the shortnose and Lost River suckers (Falter and Cech 1991; G. Scoppettone, pers. comm., 1995). Fish kills also may result from low dissolved oxygen levels (G. Scoppettone, pers. comm., 1995).

Extensive modification of the watersheds and wetlands of the Lost River - Tule Lake system, the Lower Klamath Lake system, and the Upper Klamath Lake system resulted in substantial loss of habitat. The rate of habitat change has slowed markedly, but only a small fraction of the original habitat remains, and much of the remaining habitat is in a degraded condition. Restoration efforts are beginning to reverse the trend, but will probably require many years to produce a substantially increased and stable habitat base. Adverse water quality is the most critical threat, and substantial improvement is not expected in the near future. Based on the record of the past two decades and the expected future summer water quality of Upper Klamath Lake, it is reasonable to conclude that within the foreseeable future, there is a high probability of multiple mortality events that would greatly reduce population sizes. It is possible that infrequent recruitment would be unable to offset declines from such die-offs. [Source: USFWS 2007]

Fish entrainment and restricted passage are threats. Entrainment at Link River Dam and associated hydropower diversions likely poses a high risk to the species. The threat there could be reduced if the hydropower diversions are screened or eliminated, and if discharges at the dam could be modified to reduce entrainment. Passage to spawning habitat in the Sprague River is still impeded by Chiloquin Dam, but that structure is planned for removal in the near future. Elsewhere in the upper basin, some entrainment of suckers is occurring, but mostly larvae are entrained, and we do not consider this a substantial threat at the population level. [Source: USFWS 2007]

Disease, parasites, and predation/competition by exotic fishes pose some risk, although the degree to which they affect the shortnose sucker is not quantified. Disease and parasites alone may not pose a significant risk, but paired with the impacts of adverse water quality, they can substantially affect sucker survival (USFWS 2007).

Low water levels continue to affect sucker habitats, especially in drought years (USFWS 2007). Drought is a threat because of its potential to cut off spawning habitat, to reduce rearing habitat and to increase disease, parasitism, and predation. However, historically the species has endured periods of prolonged drought and persisted, indicating that drought is not a major threat to the species (USFWS 2007).

Since the listing, protections under the Endangered Species Act have limited take of suckers and stimulated restoration actions. Water quality regulations have begun to lead toward improved water quality, but have not yet resulted in substantial improvement, and significant questions remain regarding the potential for improvement in Upper Klamath Lake. With the exception of management of water quantity under the Act, regulation of water quantity is not focused on improvement of sucker habitat, and relationships between water quantity and sucker performance remain incompletely demonstrated. Thus, while application of federal and state regulations has apparently helped stabilize sucker habitat and has initiated progress toward improvement of water quality, existing regulations cannot be expected to substantially reduce the primary threat to the species for many years. [Source: USFWS 2007]

Hybridization with other sucker species has resulted in part from the high degree of habitat alteration that has occurred in recent decades (Moyle 2002). The impact of hybridization on species' conservation is currently unclear (USFWS 2007).

Short-term Trend: Decline of >50%
Short-term Trend Comments: Spawning migrations have declined significantly in recent years. Recent data indicate that the population has not recovered from the substantial declines in the 1990s (USFWS 2007). A major decline in an abundance index for the Williamson River occurred in the mid- to late 1990s, and the index remained low through at least 2003 (USFWS 2007). Survivorship in Upper Klamath Lake appears to have been relatively low in the early 2000s (see USFWS 2007). Recruitment in Upper Klamath Lake was essentially nil from 1997-2004 (Janney and Shively 2007). Populations in Gerber Reservoir and Clear Lake show evidence of frequent recent recruitment and declines in the number of large adults (Barry et al. 2007, USFWS 2007). The small population in the Tule Lake sumps appears to be isolated from suitable spawning habitat and likely is not self-sustaining (USFWS 2007).

The time frame for short-term trend (10 years or three generations, whichever is longer) likely is at least 25 years.

Long-term Trend: Decline of >50%
Long-term Trend Comments: Formerly the species was very abundant in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon. Population size and habitat quality clearly have declined greatly over the long term; degree of decline is uncertain but likely quite large.

Available information for the 1980s indicates that the population was declining as a result of little or no recruitment coupled with mortality from the sport fishery and fish die-offs (USFWS 2007).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (5000-20,000 square km (about 2000-8000 square miles)) Historical range included the upper Klamath River and Lost River basins in Oregon and California (Moyle 2002; USFWS 1994, 2007). Current range in the Lost River drainage includes Clear Lake Reservoir, the main river below the reservoir, the Boles Creek and Willow Creek drainage above the reservoir, Gerber Reservoir, and small reservoirs scattered along the creeks, plus a small population in Tule Lake at the terminus of the Lost River (USFWS 1993, Moyle 2002). Genetic data suggest that the populations in Gerber Reservoir and Clear Lake may not be C. brevirostris (see USFWS 2007); further study is needed. Current range in the Klamath River basin includes Upper Klamath Lake (Oregon) and its major tributaries, (Williamson, Sprague, and Wood rivers) and possibly the lower reaches of smaller tributaries as well (Moyle 2002). Small populations occur in Iron Gate and Copco reservoirs on the Klamath River (USFWS 1993, Moyle 2002).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: endemic to a single nation

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States CA, OR

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CA Modoc (06049), Siskiyou (06093)
OR Klamath (41035), Lake (41037)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
18 Williamson (18010201)+, Sprague (18010202)+, Upper Klamath Lake (18010203)+, Lost (18010204)+, Butte (18010205), Upper Klamath (18010206)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed (based on multiple information sources) Help
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A fish with a hump on the snout; up to about 64 cm long.
Reproduction Comments: Spawning occurs mainly from early April to early May (USFWS 2007). Sexual maturity is attained between years four and six (USFWS 2007). This species is long-lived, but apparently it has the shortest life span among the lakesuckers; a 33-year-old hybrid was captured in Copco Reservoir in 1987 (Scoppettone and Vinyard 1991).
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: In Upper Klamath Lake, migrations begin as water temperatures warm in April and May; peak was in May in 1988 (Scoppettone and Vinyard 1991). Migrations into the Klamath River from Copco Reservoir occurred in late April in 1987 (Scoppettone and Vinyard 1991).
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, High gradient, MEDIUM RIVER, Moderate gradient, Pool, Riffle
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Deep water, Shallow water
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: Adults and juveniles prefer shallow, turbid, and highly productive lakes that are cool, but not cold, in summer (generally 15 to 25°C), have adequate dissolved oxygen, (above 4 mg/l), and are moderately alkaline (Moyle 2002).

Spawning occurs in lake tributaries, in riffles or runs with gravel or cobble substrate, moderate flows, and depths of 11-130 cm (USFWS 2007). Historically, spawning occurred also along the margins of Upper Klamath Lake, but that now appears to be rare (Barry et al. 2007). Fry move into lakes soon after hatching. Shoreline river and lake habitats are important for larvae and young (especially emergent vegetation for larvae) (USFWS 2007).

Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Limited data from Upper Klamath Lake suggest a diet dominated by cladocerans (Scoppettone and Vinyard 1991).
Length: 50 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: A number of landowners and agencies are directly or indirectly focused on sucker recovery. The high rates of participation in federal and state conservation programs by ranchers and farmers in the Sprague and Wood river valleys suggests that essential elements of habitat recovery on private land (i.e., voluntary participation and funding) are now in place. This should make it more efficient to conduct restoration in the future. Furthermore, the USFWS and its partners are committed to developing and implementing a rigorous monitoring program to evaluate the effectiveness of recovery actions and to providing a feedback loop for adaptive-management. These efforts, if successful and sustained, should help recover the shortnose sucker. [Source: USFWS 2007, which see for further information on restoration efforts]
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Large Suckers

Use Class: Not applicable
Subtype(s): Spawning Area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including eggs and larvae) in appropriate habitat.
Mapping Guidance: Occupied locations that are separated by a gap of 20 km or more of any aquatic habitat that is not known to be occupied represent different occurrences. However, it is important to evaluate migrations and seasonal changes in habitat to ensure that spawning areas and nonspawning areas for a single population are not artificially segregated as different occurrences simply because there have been no collections/observations in an intervening area that may exceed the separation distance. For example, individual blue suckers may move more than 160 km between spawning and nonspawning habitats; these widely separated locations are part of the same occurrence.
Separation Barriers: Dam lacking a suitable fishway; high waterfall; upland habitat.
Alternate Separation Procedure: Occurrences are separated at major confluences. "Major confluences" may be subjectively defined, but separations should result in occurrences that represent population units whose viability potentially may be ranked as good or excellent (in other words, occurrences should not be so small that the best of them would never be expected to persist over the long term on their own).
Separation Justification: Data on dispersal and other movements generally are not available. In some species, individuals may migrate variable distances between spawning areas and nonspawning habitats.

Separation distances (in aquatic kilometers) for catostomids are arbitrary but reflect the presumption that movements and appropriate separation distances generally should increase with fish size. Hence small, medium, and large catostomids, respectively, have increasingly large separation distances. Separation distance reflects the likely low probability that two occupied locations separated by less than several kilometers of aquatic habitat would represent truly independent populations over the long term.

Because of the difficulty in defining suitable versus unsuitable habitat, especially with respect to dispersal, and to simplify the delineation of occurrences, a single separation distance is used regardless of habitat quality.

Occupied locations that are separated by a gap of 20 km or more of any aquatic habitat that is not known to be occupied represent different occurrences. However, it is important to evaluate seasonal changes in habitat to ensure that an occupied habitat occurrence for a particular population does not artificially separate spawning areas and nonspawning areas as different occurrences simply because there have been no collections/observations in an intervening area that may exceed the separation distance.

Date: 11Apr2005
Author: Hammerson, G.
Notes: This Specs Group includes catostomids that typically are larger than 40 cm in adult standard length.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 02Nov2011
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 02Nov2011
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Barry, P. M., A. C. Scott, B. S. Hayes, E. C. Janney, and C. D. Luton. 2007b. Investigations of adult Lost River, shortnose, and Klamath largescale suckers in Upper Klamath Lake and its tributaries, Oregon, 2005. U.S. Geological Survey Annual Report. Klamath Falls, OR. 78 pp.

  • Barry, P. M., B. S. Hayes, E. C. Janney, R. S. Shively, A. C. Scott, and C. D. Luton. 2007a. Monitoring of Lost River (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose (Chasmistes brevirostris) suckers in Gerber and Clear Lake reservoirs, 2005-2006. U.S. Geological Survey Annual Report. Klamath Falls, OR. 26 pp.

  • California Department of Fish and Game (CDF&G). 1990. 1989 annual report on the status of California's state listed threatened and endangered plants and animals. 188 pp.

  • Falter, M. A., and J. J. Cech, Jr. 1991. Maximum pH tolerance of three Klamath Basin fishes. Copeia 1991:1109-1111.

  • Harris, P. M., and R. L. Mayden. 2001. Phylogenetic relationships of major clades of Catostomidae (Teleostei: Cypriniformes) as inferred from mitchondrial SSU and LSU rDNA sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 20:225-237.

  • Janney, E. C., and R. S. Shively. 2007. An updated analysis on the population dynamics of Lost River suckers and shortnose suckers in Upper Klamath Lake and its tributaries, Oregon. U.S. Geological Survey Administrative Report. Klamath Falls, OR.

  • Jelks, H. L., S. J. Walsh, N. M. Burkhead, S. Contreras-Balderas, E. Díaz-Pardo, D. A. Hendrickson, J. Lyons, N. E. Mandrak, F. McCormick, J. S. Nelson, S. P. Platania, B. A. Porter, C. B. Renaud, J. Jacobo Schmitter-Soto, E. B. Taylor, and M.L. Warren, Jr. 2008. Conservation status of imperiled North American freshwater and diadromous fishes. Fisheries 33(8):372-407.

  • Lee, D. S., C. R. Gilbert, C. H. Hocutt, R. E. Jenkins, D. E. McAllister, and J. R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, North Carolina. i-x + 854 pp.

  • Moyle, P. B. 1976a. Inland fishes of California. University of California Press, Berkeley, California. 405 pp.

  • Moyle, P. B. 2002. Inland fishes of California. Revised and expanded. University of California Press, Berkeley. xv + 502 pp.

  • Nelson, J. S., E. J. Crossman, H. Espinosa-Perez, L. T. Findley, C. R. Gilbert, R. N. Lea, and J. D. Williams. 2004. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 29, Bethesda, Maryland. 386 pp.

  • Page, L. M., H. Espinosa-Pérez, L. T. Findley, C. R. Gilbert, R. N. Lea, N. E. Mandrak, R. L. Mayden, and J. S. Nelson. 2013. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Seventh edition. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 34, Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes: North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 432 pp.

  • Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 2011. Peterson field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Second edition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. xix + 663 pp.

  • Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 20. 183 pp.

  • Scoppettone, G. G., and G. Vinyard. 1991. Life history and management of four endangered lacustrine suckers. Pages 359-377 in W. L. Minckley and J. E. Deacon (editors). Battle Against Extinction: Native Fish Management in the American West. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, Arizona.

  • Smith, G. R. 1992. Phylogeny and biogeography of the Catostomidae, freshwater fishes of North America and Asia. Pages 778-826 in R.L. Mayden, editor. Systematics, historical ecology, and North American freshwater fishes. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California. xxvi + 969 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1988. Determination of endangered status for the shortnose sucker and Lost River shortnose sucker. Federal Register 53:27130-4.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1990. Endangered and threatened species recovery program: report to Congress. 406 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1993. Lost River (Deltistes luxatus) and shortnose (Chasmistes brevirostris) sucker recovery plan. USFWS, Portland, Oregon. 108 pp.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1994. Proposed determination of critical habitat for Lost River sucker and shortnose sucker. Federal Register 59(230):61744-61759. 1 December 1994.

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 2007. Shortnose sucker (Chasmistes brevirostris) 5-year review summary and evaluation. USFWS, Klamath Falls, Oregon.

References for Watershed Distribution Map
  • Master, L. L. 1996. Synoptic national assessment of comparative risks to biological diversity and landscape types: species distributions. Summary Progress Report submitted to Environmental Protection Agency. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, Virginia. 60 pp.

  • Master, L. L. and A. L. Stock. 1998. Synoptic national assessment of comparative risks to biological diversity and landscape types: species distributions. Summary Report submitted to Environmental Protection Agency. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA. 36 pp.

  • State Natural Heritage Data Centers. 1996a. Aggregated element occurrence data from all U.S. state natural heritage programs, including the Tennessee Valley Authority, Navajo Nation and the District of Columbia. Science Division, The Nature Conservancy.

  • State Natural Heritage Data Centers. 1996b. Aggregated element occurrence data from all U.S. state natural heritage programs, including the Tennessee Valley Authority, Navajo Nation and the District of Columbia: Export of freshwater fish and mussel records west of the Mississippi River in 1997. Science Division, The Nature Conservancy.

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