Catostomus ardens
Catostomus ardens
(Utah Sucker)
Native Transplant
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Catostomus ardens Jordan and Gilbert, 1881

Common name: Utah Sucker

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Page and Burr (1991); Sigler and Sigler (1996).

Size: 65 cm.

Native Range: Lake Bonneville basin in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada and the Snake River above Shoshone Falls (Sigler and Sigler 1987, 1996).

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Native range data for this species provided in part by NatureServe NS logo
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: A single specimen was collected from lower Red Rock Lake in Beaverhead County, Beaverhead drainage, Montana in 1951 (museum specimen). Also introduced to the Green, Strawberry, Duchesne, and Fremont rivers in the upper Colorado River basin in Utah (Tyus et al. 1982; Sigler and Sigler 1987, 1996), and to Fontanelle Reservoir on the Green River in Wyoming in or before the early 1980s (Tyus et al. 1982).

Ecology: Utah Suckers are found in a variety of habitat types and thermal regimes throughout their range, including shallow, seasonally warm streams and deep, cold reservoirs and lakes. They are benthic grazers, primarily consuming algae. Spawing occurs in spring over shallow gravel or sandy areas of small streams or lakeshores (Sigler and Sigler 1996).

Means of Introduction: Probably introduced to the Colorado River drainage via bait bucket (Sigler and Sigler 1996). Means of introduction in Montana unknown.

Status: Established in the Colorado basin, Utah and Wyoming. Single specimen collected from Montana in 1951 - failed.

Impact of Introduction: The primary cause of declines of flannelmouth suckers in Wyoming is the risk of genetic introgression with widely distributed non-native suckers (Bezzerides and Bestgen 2002; McDonald et al. 2008). Hybridization between native flannelmouth and bluehead sucker, and non-native white sucker Catostomus commersoni, longnose sucker C. catostomus, and Utah Sucker C. ardens is occurring. Some combinations are fertile and will lead to introgression (Wyoming Game and Fish Department 2010).

Remarks: Mock et al. (2006) found a large degree of genetic divergence among populations in the ancient Snake River and Bonneville Basin drainages, which does not coincide with patterns of morphological variation. In addition, they found no evidence of genetic divergence among morphologically divergent individuals in Utah Lake, including the federally endangered June sucker (Chasmistes liorus mictus).

Voucher specimens: Montana (UMMZ 173861). Montana specimen identified by R.R. Miller and R.M. Bailey.

References: (click for full references)

Bezzerides, N., and K. Bestgen. 2002. Status review of roundtail chub Gila robusta, flannelmouth sucker Catostomus latipinnis, and bluehead sucker Catostomus discobolus in the Colorado River basin. Final report submitted to the U.S. Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation Division of Planning. Larval Fish Lab Contribution 118, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.

McDonald, D.B., T.L. Parchman, M.R. Bower, W.A. Hubert, and F.J. Rahel. 2008. An introduced and a native vertebrate hybridize to form a genetic bridge to a second native species. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America 105: 10842-10847.

Mock, K.E., R.P. Evans, M. Crawford, B.L. Cardall, S.U. Janecke, and M.P. Miller. 2006. Rangewide molecular structuring in the Utah sucker (Catostomus ardens). Molecular Ecology 15:2223-2238.

Page, L.M., and B.M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. The Peterson Field Guide Series, volume 42. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.

Sigler, W.F., and J.W. Sigler. 1987. Fishes of the Great Basin: A Natural History. University of Nevada Press, Reno, NV.

Sigler, W.F., and J.W. Sigler. 1996. Fishes of Utah. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, UT.

Tyus, H.M., B.D. Burdick, R.A. Valdez, C.M. Haynes, T.A. Lytle, and C.R. Berry. 1982. Fishes of the upper Colorado River basin: distribution, abundance, and status. 12-70 in W.H. Miller, H.M. Tyus, and C.A. Carlson, eds. Fishes of the upper Colorado River system: present and future, Western Division, American Fisheries Society.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson

Revision Date: 2/6/2012

Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016

Citation Information:
Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson, 2018, Catostomus ardens Jordan and Gilbert, 1881: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL,, Revision Date: 2/6/2012, Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016, Access Date: 1/24/2018

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.

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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2018]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [1/24/2018].

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