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.

Catostomus commersonii
Catostomus commersonii
(White Sucker)
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
Catostomus commersonii (Lacep├Ęde, 1803)

Common name: White Sucker

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Becker (1983); Page and Burr (1991); Etnier and Starnes (1993); Jenkins and Burkhead (1994).  Original spelling ends in ii (Nelson et al. 2004).

Size: 64 cm.

Native Range: Atlantic, Arctic, Great Lakes, and Mississippi River basins from continental Newfoundland (i.e. Labrador) to Mackenzie River, Northwest Territories; south to the Tennessee River drainage, northern Alabama, and Arkansas River drainage, New Mexico; south on Atlantic Slope to Santee River drainage, South Carolina; upper Rio Grande drainage, New Mexico; Skeena and Fraser River drainages (Pacific Slope), British Columbia (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 Catostomus commersonii are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
AR198220095Big; Little Missouri; Lower Little Arkansas, Oklahoma; Middle White; Upper Ouachita
CO1865201529Alamosa-Trinchera; Animas; Blue; Colorado Headwaters; Colorado Headwaters-Plateau; Conejos; Gunnison; Little Snake; Lower Green-Diamond; Lower Gunnison; Lower Yampa; McElmo; North Fork Gunnison; Piedra; Rio Chama; Rio Grande Headwaters; Roaring Fork; Saguache; San Luis; San Miguel; Tomichi; Uncompahgre; Upper Colorado; Upper Colorado-Dolores; Upper Dolores; Upper Green-Flaming Gorge Reservoir; Upper Gunnison; Upper San Juan; Upper Yampa
GA199320146Conasauga; Coosawattee; Middle Chattahoochee-Lake Harding; Upper Chattahoochee; Upper Coosa; Upper Ocmulgee
ID199920012Bear Lake; Lake Walcott
KS196620084Little Arkansas; Medicine Lodge; Pawnee; Upper Walnut River
LA195619992Eastern Louisiana Coastal; Lower Mississippi-Baton Rouge
MT199420125Blackfoot; Flint-Rock; Lower Musselshell; Middle Clark Fork; Willow
NM1939201318Animas; Caballo; Elephant Butte Reservoir; Jemez; Middle San Juan; Mimbres; Rio Chama; Rio Grande-Albuquerque; Rio Grande-Mimbres; Rio Grande-Santa Fe; Rio San Jose; San Francisco; Upper Beaver; Upper Gila; Upper Gila-Mangas; Upper Rio Grande; Upper San Juan; Upper San Juan
NC194720136Deep; Haw; Neuse; Pamlico Sound; Seneca; Upper Neuse
OK192720033Blue; Poteau; Upper Beaver
OR197220022Silver; Upper Willamette
SC199919993Bulls Bay; Cooper; Salkehatchie
TX198019801South Llano
UT1969201210Dirty Devil; Duchesne; Lower Green-Desolation Canyon; Lower Green-Diamond; Lower Weber; Upper Bear; Upper Colorado-Kane Springs; Upper Green-Flaming Gorge Reservoir; Upper Lake Powell; Westwater Canyon
VA194519451Middle New
WY1979201314Big Sandy; Bitter; Blacks Fork; Greys-Hoback; Little Snake; Muddy; Muddy; New Fork; Upper Bear; Upper Green; Upper Green; Upper Green-Flaming Gorge Reservoir; Upper Green-Slate; White - Yampa

Table last updated 4/22/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Bait bucket release and trout stock contamination in Colorado. Probably as bait bucket release in Utah, and Wyoming. Unknown means in Georgia, North Carolina, and New Mexico. Woodling (1985) reported the first introductions in the Colorado River took place in the 1860s and 1870s. Holden and Stalnaker (1975) reported later introductions: one in 1926, and another in 1938. They also assumed a population in the Yampa River was from a separate introduction.

Status: Established in all locations.

Impact of Introduction: In Colorado, the White Sucker is replacing native suckers in the Rio Grande and Colorado river drainages (Walker 1993).  Hybridization between native flannelmouth and bluehead sucker, and non-native White Sucker Catostomus commersoni, longnose sucker Catostomus catostomus, and Utah sucker Catostomus ardens is occurring. Some combinations are fertile and will lead to introgression (Wyoming Game and Fish Department 2010).

Remarks: Tyus et al. (1982) gave a distribution map of the this species in the upper Colorado basin.

References: (click for full references)

Baxter, G. T., and J. R. Simon. 1970. Wyoming fishes. Wyoming Game and Fish Department Bulletin 4, Cheyenne, WY. 168 pp.

Becker, G. C. 1983. Fishes of Wisconsin. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI.

Couch, C. A., J. C. DeVivo, and B J. Freeman. 1995. What fish live in the streams of metropolitan Atlanta? Fact Sheet FS-091-95, National Water-Quality Assessment Program, U.S. Geological Survey, Atlanta, GA.

Etnier, D. A., and W. C. Starnes. 1993. The fishes of Tennessee. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, TN.

Holden, P. B., and C. B. Stalnaker. 1975. Distribution and abundance of mainstream fishes of the middle and upper Colorado River basins, 1967-1973. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 104(2):217-231.

Hubert, W. 1994. Exotic fish. Pages 158-174 in T. L. Parrish, and S. H. Anderson, editors. Exotic species manual. Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Laramie, WY.

Jenkins, R. E., and N. M. Burkhead. 1994. Freshwater fishes of Virginia. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD.

Menhinick, E. F. 1991. The freshwater fishes of North Carolina. North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. 227 pp.

Nelson, J. S., E. J. Crossman, H. Espinosa-Perez, L. T. Findley, C. R. Gilbert, R. N. Lea and J. D. Williams. 2004. Common and Scientific Names of Fishes from the United States, Canada and Mexico, Sixth Edition. American Fisheries Society Special Publication 29. Bethesda, MD.

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.

Platania, S. P. 1991. Fishes of the Rio Chama and upper Rio Grande, New Mexico, with preliminary comments on their longitudinal distribution. Southwestern Naturalist 36(2):186-193.

Schmidt, B. - Chief Fisheries Mangement, Division of Wildlife Resources, Salt Lake City, UT. Response to NBS-G non-indigenous questionaire. 1992.

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.

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

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. Pages 12--70 in W. H. Miller, H. M. Tyus, and C. A. Carlson, editors. Fishes of the upper Colorado River system: present and future, Western Division, American Fisheries Society.

Vanicek, C. D., R. H. Kramer, and D. R. Franklin. 1970. Distribution of Green River fishes in Utah and Colorado following closure of Flaming Gorge Dam. The Southwestern Naturalist 14(3):297--315.

Walker, P. 1993. A list of the endemic and introduced fishes of Colorado -- March, 1993. Colorado Division of Wildlife, Aquatic Resources Unit. Unpublished manuscript. 16 pp.

Woodling, J. 1985. Colorado's little fish: a guide to the minnows and other lesser known fishes in the state of Colorado. Colorado Division of Wildlife, Denver, CO. 77 pp.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Fuller, P.

Revision Date: 7/2/2019

Peer Review Date: 3/7/2011

Citation Information:
Fuller, P., 2024, Catostomus commersonii (Lacep├Ęde, 1803): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=346, Revision Date: 7/2/2019, Peer Review Date: 3/7/2011, Access Date: 4/23/2024

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.


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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [4/23/2024].

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