Catostomus plebeius
Catostomus plebeius
(Rio Grande Sucker)
Native Transplant
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Catostomus 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).

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

Nonindigenous Occurrences: The Rio Grande Sucker has been introduced into the San Francisco drainage in both Arizona and New Mexico (Minckley 1973; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.). It has also been introduced into the Rio Hondo along its headwater tributary streams in the Pecos drainage (Sublette et al. 1990), and Sapello Creek, a tributary of the Gila River (Buth and Crabtree 1985; Sublette et al. 1990) in New Mexico. The Rio Grande Sucker may have been introduced into the Platte drainage in Colorado (Propst and Carlson 1986).

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: Unknown.

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: 4/1/2016

Citation Information:
Fuller, P., 2018, Catostomus plebeius Baird and Girard, 1854: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL,, Revision Date: 8/19/2011, Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016, Access Date: 3/24/2018

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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Page Last Modified: Wednesday, March 14, 2018


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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2018]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [3/24/2018].

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