The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Pantosteus plebeius
Pantosteus plebeius
(Rio Grande Sucker)
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
Pantosteus plebeius (Baird and Girard, 1854)

Common name: Rio Grande Sucker

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Sublette et al. (1990); Page and Burr (1991).

Size: 20 cm.

Native Range: Upper Rio Grande drainage in southern Colorado and New Mexico, south through endorheic basins and headwaters of Pacific Slope drainages to Durango and Zacatecas, Mexico (Page and Burr 1991).

Native range data for this species provided in part by NatureServe NS logo
Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Pantosteus plebeius are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
AZ194519732Lower Colorado Region; San Francisco
CO197819781South Platte
NM197319903Rio Hondo; San Francisco; Upper Gila

Table last updated 7/17/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Introduced via bait bucket into the Rio Hondo and its tributaries. It is uncertain whether the Sapello Creek population originated naturally from stream capture via the Mimbres River or was introduced. Accidental introduction into the San Francisco River in the 1940s (Sublette et al 1990).

Status: Established in all locations in Arizona and New Mexico. Apparently extirpated in the Platte drainage, Colorado.

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

Remarks: Smith (1966) believed that an earlier record of Catostomus platyrhnchus reported from the Platte River drainage was actually C. plebeius. According to Propst and Carlson (1986), C. plebeius is not native to the Platte River drainage and, therefore, they stated that the reported specimen probably represents an introduction.

References: (click for full references)

Buth, D. G., and C. B. Crabtree. 1985. A comparison of the genetic characteristics of the Zuni sucker (Casostomus discobolus yarrowi), the bluehead sucker (Catostomus discobolus), and the Rio Grande sucker (Catostomus plebeius). Report of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Santa Fe, NM. 34pp.

Lee, D. S., C. R. Gilbert, C. H. Hocutt, R. E. Jenkins, D. E. McAllister, and J. R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980 et seq. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, NC.

Minckley, W. L. 1973. Fishes of Arizona. Arizona Fish and Game Department. Sims Printing Company, Inc., Phoenix, AZ.

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.

Propst, D. L., and C. A. Carlson. 1986. The distribution and status of warmwater fishes in the Platte River drainage, Colorado. Southwestern Naturalist 31(2):149--167.

Sublette, J. E., M. D. Hatch, and M. Sublette. 1990. The fishes of New Mexico. New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM. 393 pp.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Fuller, P.

Revision Date: 8/19/2011

Peer Review Date: 8/19/2011

Citation Information:
Fuller, P., 2024, Pantosteus plebeius (Baird and Girard, 1854): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=353, Revision Date: 8/19/2011, Peer Review Date: 8/19/2011, Access Date: 7/18/2024

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.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [7/18/2024].

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