Couesius plumbeus
Couesius plumbeus
(Lake Chub)
Native Transplant
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Couesius plumbeus (Agassiz, 1850)

Common name: Lake Chub

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Scott and Crossman (1973); Becker (1983); Page and Burr (1991). Gilbert (1998) recognized three distinct subspecies: C. p. plumbeus, C. p. greeni, and one formerly known as C. p. dissimilis (a name no longer available).

Size: 23 cm.

Native Range: Throughout much of Canada and northern United States; south to Delaware River, New York; southern end of Lake Michigan, Illinois; Platte River system, Colorado; and Columbia River drainage, Washington. Relict populations in Mississippi River basin, Iowa (Page and Burr 1991).

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Puerto Rico &
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Guam Saipan
Native range data for this species provided in part by NatureServe NS logo
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: Introduced into the Niobrara River in Nebraska (S. Schainost, pers. comm.). This species is known from the Big and Little Sandy creeks, Green River drainage (Colorado River basin), and Yellowstone Lake, upper Colorado drainage, and Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming (Baxter and Simon 1970; C. Wheeler, personal communication; Lee et al. et seq 1980; Hubert 1994; Tilmant 1999).

Means of Introduction: Probably introduced by bait bucket release (Baxter and Simon 1970).

Status: Established in the Green River drainage and in Yellowstone Lake, Wyoming (Baxter and Simon 1970).

Impact of Introduction: Unknown.

Remarks: Wydoski and Whitney (1979) stated the species is not native to Idaho and that it has been introduced into the panhandle region, however, Simpson and Wallace (1978), Lee et al. (1980 et seq.), and Page and Burr (1991) depicted the species' range to include northern Idaho and made no mention of it being introduced there. We believe it is probably native to the Kootenai drainage in northern Idaho. According to C. Gilbert (personal communication), its occurrence in the upper Colorado basin may have involved an introduction; however, he also noted that the species may have entered the Colorado basin by way of a localized stream capture involving a tributary of the Colorado and the upper Platte River. Gilbert (1998) discussed the distribution of this species in his account of Ceratichthys squamilentus.

Voucher specimens: Wyoming (currently in C. Wheeler's possession but will be placed in the UWL museum).

References: (click for full references)

Hubert, W. 1994. Exotic fishes, p 158-174 in T.L. Parish and S.H. Anderson (eds). Exotic Species Manual. Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Laramie.

Tilmant, J.T. 1999. Management of nonindigenous aquatic fish in the U.S. National Park System. National Park Service. 50 pp.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Pam Fuller, and Leo Nico

Revision Date: 3/27/2014

Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016

Citation Information:
Pam Fuller, and Leo Nico, 2018, Couesius plumbeus (Agassiz, 1850): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL,, Revision Date: 3/27/2014, Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016, Access Date: 3/22/2018

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 [3/22/2018].

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