Cycleptus elongatus - (Lesueur, 1817)
Blue Sucker
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Cycleptus elongatus (Lesueur, 1817) (TSN 163953)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.100992
Element Code: AFCJC04010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Fishes - Bony Fishes - Suckers
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Actinopterygii Cypriniformes Catostomidae Cycleptus
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
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Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Burr, B. M., and R. L. Mayden. 1999. A new species of Cycleptus (Cypriniformes: Catostomidae) from Gulf Slope drainages of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, with a review of the distribution, biology, and conservation status of the genus. Bulletin of the Alabama Museum of Natural History 20:19-57.
Concept Reference Code: A99BUR05NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Cycleptus elongatus
Taxonomic Comments: One of only a few species in the subfamily Cycleptinae (two in North America, the other in China) (Burr and Mayden 1999). CYCLEPTUS MERIDIONALIS of the Alabama-Pascagoula drainages formerly was included in C. ELONGATUS. The Rio Grande population of C. ELONGATUS apparently warrants recognition as a distinct species, to be described by Mayden and Burr (Buth and Mayden 2001). See Smith (1992) for a study of the phylogeny and biogeography of the Catostomidae.
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G3G4
Global Status Last Reviewed: 15Nov2011
Global Status Last Changed: 17Aug2001
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G3 - Vulnerable
Reasons: Wide distribution in large rivers in central North America; generally common but greatly reduced in abundance around margins of range as a result of dam construction and reductions in water quality.
Nation: United States
National Status: N3N4 (09Sep2007)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alabama (S1), Arkansas (S2), Illinois (S2), Indiana (S4), Iowa (S3), Kansas (S3), Kentucky (S3), Louisiana (S3), Minnesota (S3), Mississippi (S3), Missouri (S3S4), Montana (S2S3), Nebraska (S1), New Mexico (S1), North Dakota (S3), Ohio (S1), Oklahoma (S3), Pennsylvania (SX), South Dakota (S3), Tennessee (S2), Texas (S3), West Virginia (S1), Wisconsin (S2)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern
American Fisheries Society Status: Vulnerable (01Aug2008)

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: 200,000 to >2,500,000 square km (about 80,000 to >1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: This sucker occupies Gulf Slope drainages from the Sabine River to the Rio Grande/Pecos River drainage, in Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico; the Mississippi River basin north to Wisconsin and Minnesota; the Missouri River drainage northwestward to the Dakotas and Montana; the Ohio River drainage eastward to western Pennsylvania (extirpated in Pennsylvania) (Burr and Mayden 1999), and the Tennessee River basin to eastern Tennessee and northern Alabama. It is now seemingly common only in the Missouri and Neosho rivers and middle Rio Grande (Etnier and Starnes 1993, Cross and Collins 1995), and in the Mississippi River south of the Missouri River in Missouri (Pflieger 1997). The Rio Grande population is to be described as a distinct species (Buth and Mayden 2001).

Area of Occupancy: Unknown 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments:  

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is known from hundreds of sites in dozens of rivers (Burr and Mayden 1999), but the viability of many of these occurrences is unknown. Robison and Buchanan (1988) mapped 26 collection sites in Arkansas; only 1 collection was pre-1960. Etnier and Starnes (1993) mapped 23 collection sites, representing probably at least a dozen distinct occurrences, in Tennessee, but they stated that recent Tennessee records are scarce. Boschung and Mayden (2004) recorded only two records in the Tennessee River drainage in Alabama, one in 1939 and the other in 1993 [labeled "1997" on their map]. Burr and Warren (1986) mapped a few dozen collection sites scattered throughout the historical range in Kentucky. Pflieger (1997) mapped about 60 collection sites in Missouri, only a few of which were pre-1945; these represent three substantial populations in the Missouri River, Mississippi River, and lowland Ft. Francis River, plus smaller populations elsewhere. Only one river in Mexico (Rio Bravo) is believed to contain a viable population (Miller 2005).

Population Size: 10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total population size is unknown but presumably exceeds 10,000. This species is generally common in preferred habitat but is becoming less so at the edges of the range (Page and Burr 2011). This fish's habitat makes it difficult to capture, so it is relatively rare in collections and abundance is easily underestimated (Burr and Warren 1986, Robison and Buchanan 1988, Etnier and Starnes 1993). In Arkansas, it is frequently caught in commercial fisheries, sometimes as many as 100 individuals per day in spring (Robison and Buchanan 1988).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Unknown

Overall Threat Impact: Medium
Overall Threat Impact Comments: Cited causes of decline include historical overfishing, depletion of surface water, poor water quality stemming from sewage effluent and agricultural runoff, siltation from poor farming practices, interruption of migrations by dams, and stranding in irrigation canals (Coker 1930, Robison and Buchanan 1988, Sublette et al. 1990, Pflieger 1997, Boschung and Mayden 2004). Declines following droughts were noted by Moss et al. (1983). Reductions in river velocity could also inhibit reproductive success (Eberle 1993:2). This fish tolerates high turbidity if sufficient current prevents silt deposition (Pflieger 1997). Threats are difficult to alleviate.

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Short-term Trend Comments: Over the past 10 years or three generations, this species apparently has declined in abundance and possibly also in number of subpopulations and area of occupancy. However, better information on current status is needed.

Long-term Trend: Decline of 50-70%
Long-term Trend Comments: Over the long term, the blue sucker has become less common in some parts of its range, but it is still common and widely distributed in other areas.

This sucker is still common in the Missouri and Mississippi rivers in Missouri, but it was far more common in the upper Mississippi River prior to 1900 than since (Pflieger 1997). As of the 1980s, the Arkansas River population in Arkansas was relatively stable and large (Robison and Buchanan 1988). Cross and Collins (1995) noted that the species declined long ago over much of its range, but fairly large numbers remain in the Neosho River in Kansas. Burr and Mayden (1999) characterized this fish as "uncommon and disappearing at the edges of its range," but "reproducing and showing evidence of recruitment at many localities" and "clearly not jeopardized throughout all or a significant portion of its range." Warren et al. (2000) categorized the status in the southeastern United States as Vulnerable ("a species or subspecies that may become endangered or threatened by relatively minor disturbances to its habitat or that deserves careful monitoring of its distribution and abundance in continental waters of the United States to determine its status"). Boschung and Mayden (2004) stated that "although the blue sucker may be locally common in places, it is presently imperiled throughout much of its range...."

In Kentucky, Burr and Warren (1986) reported the blue sucker as occasional and locally common at the Falls of the Ohio in Jefferson County, the main channel of the lower Green River, and the lower Licking River (where recent collections yielded numerous specimens). Occurrence was reported as sporadic in the Ohio River, the lower Tennessee River below Kentucky Dam, and the lower Kentucky River; formerly present in the Cumberland River. At that time, the authors recommended that it be delisted from its threatened status in Kentucky.

Sublette et al. (1990) stated that the blue sucker has been extirpated from the Rio Grande but is stable in the lower Pecos River drainage below Brantley Reservoir in New Mexico. Subsequently, Burr (pers. comm., 1995, cited by Miller 2005) reported it as rare in the main stem Rio Grande.

Miller (2005) mapped 10 collection localities in Mexico, including some along the Rio Grande, but he noted that except in the middle Rio Bravo in the vicinity of Big Bend National Park, where the species remains common, this sucker may be extirpated from Mexico.

Environmental Specificity: Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Monitoring of population abundance and distribution is needed.

Protection Needs: Protection needs include: enforcement of water quality standards; maintenance of perennial flows in streams; protection of spawning habitat; construction of fishways to allow passage of migrating fish past dams.

Global Range: (200,000 to >2,500,000 square km (about 80,000 to >1,000,000 square miles)) This sucker occupies Gulf Slope drainages from the Sabine River to the Rio Grande/Pecos River drainage, in Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico; the Mississippi River basin north to Wisconsin and Minnesota; the Missouri River drainage northwestward to the Dakotas and Montana; the Ohio River drainage eastward to western Pennsylvania (extirpated in Pennsylvania) (Burr and Mayden 1999), and the Tennessee River basin to eastern Tennessee and northern Alabama. It is now seemingly common only in the Missouri and Neosho rivers and middle Rio Grande (Etnier and Starnes 1993, Cross and Collins 1995), and in the Mississippi River south of the Missouri River in Missouri (Pflieger 1997). The Rio Grande population is to be described as a distinct species (Buth and Mayden 2001).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MN, MO, MS, MT, ND, NE, NM, OH, OK, PAextirpated, SD, TN, TX, WI, WV

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AR Arkansas (05001), Desha (05041), Hempstead (05057), Jackson (05067), Lafayette (05073), Little River (05081), Miller (05091), Mississippi (05093)*, Prairie (05117)
IA Allamakee (19005)*, Dubuque (19061)*, Harrison (19085), Johnson (19103), Lee (19111), Linn (19113), Monona (19133), Muscatine (19139)*, Plymouth (19149)*, Scott (19163)*, Woodbury (19193)*
IN Clark (18019), Clay (18021)*, Dubois (18037), Floyd (18043), Fountain (18045)*, Franklin (18047), Gibson (18051), Knox (18083), Lawrence (18093), Martin (18101), Parke (18121), Pike (18125)*, Posey (18129), Putnam (18133)*, Spencer (18147)*, Sullivan (18153), Switzerland (18155), Tippecanoe (18157)*, Vermillion (18165), Vigo (18167), Warren (18171)*
KS Allen (20001), Atchison (20005), Cherokee (20021), Coffey (20031)*, Doniphan (20043), Douglas (20045), Geary (20061), Jefferson (20087), Johnson (20091), Labette (20099), Leavenworth (20103), Lyon (20111)*, Morris (20127)*, Neosho (20133), Pottawatomie (20149), Riley (20161), Saline (20169), Shawnee (20177), Wabaunsee (20197), Woodson (20207), Wyandotte (20209)
LA Calcasieu (22019), Concordia (22029), Morehouse (22067), Rapides (22079), Red River (22081)*, Union (22111), Vernon (22115)*
MN Blue Earth (27013), Brown (27015), Carver (27019), Chippewa (27023), Chisago (27025), Dakota (27037), Goodhue (27049), Hennepin (27053), Houston (27055), Le Sueur (27079), Nicollet (27103), Pine (27115), Ramsey (27123), Redwood (27127), Renville (27129), Scott (27139), Sibley (27143), Wabasha (27157), Washington (27163), Winona (27169), Yellow Medicine (27173)
MO Andrew (29003), Atchison (29005), Boone (29019), Buchanan (29021), Butler (29023), Callaway (29027), Cape Girardeau (29031), Carroll (29033), Carter (29035)*, Chariton (29041), Clark (29045), Clay (29047), Cole (29051), Cooper (29053), Daviess (29061), Dunklin (29069), Franklin (29071), Gasconade (29073), Holt (29087), Howard (29089), Jackson (29095), Jefferson (29099)*, Lafayette (29107), Lewis (29111), Lincoln (29113), Marion (29127), McDonald (29119)*, Miller (29131), Mississippi (29133), Moniteau (29135), Montgomery (29139), New Madrid (29143), Oregon (29149), Osage (29151), Perry (29157), Platte (29165), Ralls (29173)*, Ray (29177), Ripley (29181), Saline (29195), Scott (29201), St. Charles (29183), St. Louis (29189), Ste. Genevieve (29186), Stoddard (29207), Warren (29219), Wayne (29223)
MS Claiborne (28021), Copiah (28029)*, Hinds (28049), Issaquena (28055), Lowndes (28087), Panola (28107), Tallahatchie (28135), Warren (28149), Washington (28151), Yazoo (28163)*
MT Blaine (30005), Cascade (30013), Chouteau (30015), Custer (30017), Dawson (30021), Fergus (30027), Garfield (30033), Hill (30041), Liberty (30051), McCone (30055), Petroleum (30069), Phillips (30071), Powder River (30075), Prairie (30079), Richland (30083), Roosevelt (30085), Rosebud (30087), Treasure (30103), Valley (30105), Wibaux (30109)
ND Burleigh (38015), Emmons (38029), McKenzie (38053), McLean (38055), Mercer (38057), Morton (38059), Mountrail (38061)*, Oliver (38065), Sioux (38085), Williams (38105)
NE Boyd (31015), Burt (31021), Cass (31025), Cedar (31027), Cuming (31039), Dakota (31043), Dixon (31051), Dodge (31053), Douglas (31055), Knox (31107), Nemaha (31127), Otoe (31131), Richardson (31147), Sarpy (31153), Saunders (31155), Thurston (31173), Washington (31177)
NM Eddy (35015)
OH Hamilton (39061), Pike (39131), Ross (39141), Scioto (39145)
OK Bryan (40013)*, Choctaw (40023), Haskell (40061), Marshall (40095)*, McCurtain (40089), Muskogee (40101), Sequoyah (40135)
SD Bon Homme (46009), Charles Mix (46023), Clay (46027), Davison (46035), Gregory (46053), Hughes (46065), Hutchinson (46067), Lincoln (46083), Stanley (46117), Union (46127), Yankton (46135)
TN Anderson (47001)*, Campbell (47013)*, Cocke (47029)*, Davidson (47037), Dyer (47045), Grainger (47057)*, Greene (47059), Hancock (47067)*, Hardeman (47069), Hardin (47071), Haywood (47075), Humphreys (47085), Jefferson (47089)*, Knox (47093), Lauderdale (47097), Loudon (47105), Madison (47113), Monroe (47123)*, Roane (47145)*, Sevier (47155), Shelby (47157), Smith (47159), Stewart (47161), Tipton (47167)
TX Gregg (48183)
WI Adams (55001), Buffalo (55011), Burnett (55013), Chippewa (55017), Columbia (55021), Crawford (55023), Dane (55025), Dunn (55033), Eau Claire (55035), Grant (55043), Iowa (55049), Jackson (55053), La Crosse (55063), Pepin (55091), Pierce (55093), Polk (55095), Richland (55103), Sauk (55111), St. Croix (55109), Trempealeau (55121), Vernon (55123)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Cahaba (03150202), Middle Alabama (03150203), Upper Tombigbee (03160101)+, Middle Tombigbee-Lubbub (03160106)+, Lower Pearl. Mississippi (03180004), Bogue Chitto (03180005)
05 Middle Allegheny-Redbank (05010006)*, Cheat (05020004)*, Upper Ohio (05030101)*, Upper Ohio-Shade (05030202), Muskingum (05040004), Lower Scioto (05060002)+, Lower Great Miami (05080002)+, Whitewater (05080003)+, Raccoon-Symmes (05090101), Little Scioto-Tygarts (05090103), Ohio Brush-Whiteoak (05090201), Little Miami (05090202)+, Middle Ohio-Laughery (05090203)+, Licking (05100101), Lower Kentucky (05100205), Upper Green (05110001), Middle Green (05110003), Lower Green (05110005), Middle Wabash-Deer (05120105)+*, Tippecanoe (05120106)+*, Wildcat (05120107)+*, Middle Wabash-Little Vermilion (05120108)+, Middle Wabash-Busseron (05120111)+, Embarras (05120112), Lower Wabash (05120113)+, Lower White (05120202)+, Eel (05120203)+*, Lower East Fork White (05120208)+, Patoka (05120209)+, Upper Cumberland-Lake Cumberland (05130103), Upper Cumberland-Cordell Hull (05130106)+, Lower Cumberland-Old Hickory Lake (05130201), Lower Cumberland-Sycamore (05130202)+, Lower Cumberland (05130205)+, Silver-Little Kentucky (05140101)+, Blue-Sinking (05140104), Lower Ohio-Little Pigeon (05140201)+, Highland-Pigeon (05140202), Lower Ohio-Bay (05140203), Lower Ohio (05140206)
06 Holston (06010104)+, Lower French Broad (06010107)+, Nolichucky (06010108)+, Watts Bar Lake (06010201)+, Lower Little Tennessee (06010204)+*, Upper Clinch (06010205)+*, Lower Clinch (06010207)+*, Emory (06010208), Hiwassee (06020002), Pickwick Lake (06030005), Bear (06030006), Lower Tennessee-Beech (06040001)+, Lower Duck (06040003)+, Lower Tennessee (06040006)
07 Twin Cities (07010206)+, Hawk-Yellow Medicine (07020004)+, Middle Minnesota (07020007)+, Lower Minnesota (07020012)+, Upper St. Croix (07030001)+, Kettle (07030003)+*, Lower St. Croix (07030005)+, Rush-Vermillion (07040001)+, Cannon (07040002)+, Buffalo-Whitewater (07040003)+, Zumbro (07040004)+, Trempealeau (07040005)+, La Crosse-Pine (07040006)+, Black (07040007)+, Root (07040008)+, Lower Chippewa (07050005)+, Eau Claire (07050006)+, Red Cedar (07050007)+, Coon-Yellow (07060001)+, Upper Iowa (07060002)+*, Grant-Little Maquoketa (07060003)+, Turkey (07060004), Apple-Plum (07060005)+, Castle Rock (07070003)+, Baraboo (07070004)+, Lower Wisconsin (07070005)+, Kickapoo (07070006)+, Copperas-Duck (07080101)+, Lower Wapsipinicon (07080103)+*, Flint-Henderson (07080104)+, Middle Cedar (07080205)+*, Lower Cedar (07080206)+, Lower Iowa (07080209)+, Lower Des Moines (07100009)*, Bear-Wyaconda (07110001)+, North Fabius (07110002), The Sny (07110004)+, Cuivre (07110008)+, Peruque-Piasa (07110009)+, Lower Illinois-Lake Chautauqua (07130003), Cahokia-Joachim (07140101)+, Meramec (07140102)+, Upper Mississippi-Cape Girardeau (07140105)+, Whitewater (07140107)+, Middle Kaskaskia (07140202)*
08 Lower Mississippi-Memphis (08010100)+, Upper Hatchie (08010207), Lower Hatchie (08010208)+, Wolf (08010210)+, Lower Mississippi-Helena (08020100), Lower St. Francis (08020203)+, Lower White-Bayou Des Arc (08020301)+, Cache (08020302), Lower White (08020303)+, Big (08020304), Lower Arkansas (08020401)+, Lower Mississippi-Greenville (08030100)+, Little Tallahatchie (08030201)+, Tallahatchie (08030202)+, Yalobusha (08030205), Upper Yazoo (08030206)+, Big Sunflower (08030207), Deer-Steele (08030209)+, Lower Ouachita-Bayou De Loutre (08040202)+, Bayou Bartholomew (08040205)+, Lower Ouachita (08040207), Lower Red (08040301)+, Bayou Macon (08050002)+, Lower Mississippi-Natchez (08060100)+*, Lower Big Black (08060202)+, Bayou Pierre (08060203)+*, Bayou Teche (08080102)*
10 Upper Missouri-Dearborn (10030102)+, Belt (10030105)+, Marias (10030203)+, Teton (10030205)+, Bullwhacker-Dog (10040101)+, Arrow (10040102)+, Judith (10040103)+, Fort Peck Reservoir (10040104)+, Big Dry (10040105)+, Middle Musselshell (10040202)+, Lower Musselshell (10040205)+, Lower Milk (10050012)+, Porcupine (10050016)+, Prarie Elk-Wolf (10060001)+, Redwater (10060002)+, Charlie-Little Muddy (10060005)+, Big Muddy (10060006)+, Lower Tongue (10090102)+, Middle Powder (10090207)+, Little Powder (10090208)+, Lower Powder (10090209)+, Mizpah (10090210)+, Lower Yellowstone-Sunday (10100001)+, Big Porcupine (10100002)+, Rosebud (10100003)+, Lower Yellowstone (10100004)+, O'fallon (10100005)+, Lake Sakakawea (10110101)+, Painted Woods-Square Butte (10130101)+, Upper Lake Oahe (10130102)+, Beaver (10130104)+, Lower Lake Oahe (10130105)+, Knife (10130201)+, Lower Heart (10130203)+, Lower Cannonball (10130206)+*, Fort Randall Reservoir (10140101)+, Lower Niobrara (10150007)+, Lower James (10160011)+, Lewis and Clark Lake (10170101)+, Vermillion (10170102)+, Lower Big Sioux (10170203)+, Lower Platte-Shell (10200201)+, Lower Platte (10200202)+, Salt (10200203)+, Lower Elkhorn (10220003)+, Blackbird-Soldier (10230001)+, Floyd (10230002)+*, Big Papillion-Mosquito (10230006)+, Keg-Weeping Water (10240001)+, Tarkio-Wolf (10240005)+, Little Nemaha (10240006)+, Independence-Sugar (10240011)+, Lower Republican (10250017)+, Lower Smoky Hill (10260008)+, Upper Kansas (10270101)+, Middle Kansas (10270102)+, Delaware (10270103)+, Lower Kansas (10270104)+, Lower Big Blue (10270205)+, Upper Grand (10280101)+, Lower Grand (10280103)+, Little Chariton (10280203)+, Lake of the Ozarks (10290109), Lower Osage (10290111)+, Lower Gasconade (10290203)+, Lower Missouri-Crooked (10300101)+, Lower Missouri-Moreau (10300102)+, Lamine (10300103)+, Lower Missouri (10300200)+
11 Middle White (11010004), Upper Black (11010007)+, Current (11010008)+, Lower Black (11010009), Spring (11010010)+, Eleven Point (11010011)+, Upper White-Village (11010013)+, Little Red (11010014), Neosho headwaters (11070201)+, Upper Neosho (11070204)+, Middle Neosho (11070205)+, Elk (11070208)+*, Lower Neosho (11070209), Dirty-Greenleaf (11110102)+, Robert S. Kerr Reservoir (11110104)+, Frog-Mulberry (11110201), Dardanelle Reservoir (11110202), Lake Conway-Point Remove (11110203), Lower Arkansas-Maumelle (11110207), Lake Texoma (11130210)+*, Lower Washita (11130304)+*, Bois D'arc-Island (11140101)+, Muddy Boggy (11140103)+, Kiamichi (11140105)+*, Pecan-Waterhole (11140106)+, Lower Little (11140109)+, Mckinney-Posten Bayous (11140201)+, Middle Red-Coushatta (11140202)+, Lower Red-Lake Iatt (11140207)+, Lower Sulphur (11140302)+, Cross Bayou (11140304)*
12 Middle Sabine (12010002)+, Toledo Bend Reservoir (12010004), Lower Sabine (12010005)+, Lower Neches (12020003), Lower Brazos-Little Brazos (12070101), Lower Colorado-Cummins (12090301), Middle Guadalupe (12100202), San Miguel (12110109)
13 Black Hills-Fresno (13040203), Big Bend (13040205), Reagan-Sanderson (13040208), Amistad Reservoir (13040212), Upper Pecos-Black (13060011)+, Delaware (13070002), San Ambrosia-Santa Isabel (13080002), International Falcon Reservoir (13080003)
+ 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
Basic Description: A fish (sucker) that reaches a length of 93 cm.
Reproduction Comments: Spawns in spring (in May at water temperatures of 20-23 in Kansas). Males are sexually mature at age III-IV, females usually at age VI in Mississippi River. In Kansas, females lived to 9 years, males to 7 years (Moss et al. 1983). See Yeager and Semmens (1987) for a description of early developmental stages.
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Migrates upstream into riffle areas for spawning (Becker 1983). Individuals may move more than 100 miles between spawning and nonspawning habitats (Mettee et al. 1996).
Riverine Habitat(s): BIG RIVER, Low gradient, MEDIUM RIVER, Moderate gradient, Pool, Riffle
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Deep water, Shallow water
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: Habitat includes the largest rivers and lower parts of major tributaries. Usually this sucker occurs in channels and flowing pools with moderate current (1.0-2.6 meters/sec). It also occurs in some impoundments. Adults probably winter in deep pools. Young occupy shallower and less swift water than do adults.

Adults migrate upstream to spawn on riffles. In Kansas, spawning occurred in deep (1-2 meters) riffles with cobble and bedrock substrate (Moss et al. 1983).

Adult Food Habits: Herbivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Bottom feeder. Eats insects, crustaceans, and plant material, including algae (Becker 1983); also SPHAERIUM clams. Diet of adults and young often includes larvae and pupae of midges and caddisflies and plant material (see Sublette et al. 1990 and Moss et al. 1983).
Length: 93 centimeters
Economic Attributes
Economic Comments: One of the finest freshwater food fishes; formerly an important part of commercial fisheries in Mississippi drainage (Sublette et al. 1990).
Management Summary
Restoration Potential: "It seems unlikely that its plight will improve" (Etnier and Starnes 1993).
Biological Research Needs: Further information is needed on systematics, life history, and migration.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 15Nov2011
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G., R. Jennings, and F. Dirrigl, Jr.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 15Nov2011
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).

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References for Watershed Distribution Map
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