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Little is known about the relative abundance and biology of the blue sucker (Cycleptus elongatus), a species that may be declining in some parts of its range. We described the age, growth, condition, length distribution, and habitat preference of the blue sucker in two South Dakota rivers. Specimens were collected from the James River (n=74) and Big Sioux River (n=28) during the summer of 2000. Although five macrohabitats were sampled with electrofishing and hoopnets, most individuals were collected from riffle habitats and downstream of rock dams. Total length-weight relationships were log10W=-6.14+3.37(log10L) (r2 = 0.92) for blue suckers from the James River and log10W = -6.52+3.50(log10L) (r2 = 0.97) for fish from the Big Sioux River. Mean condition factors (K = W(105)/L3) of blue suckers were 0.79 (SE = 0.07) for the James River and 0.73 (SE = 0.07) for the Big Sioux River. Blue suckers between 500 and 700 mm dominated length distributions (range = 374-717 mm) of both samples. Ages ranged from two to nine years, but six-year-old fish were captured most frequently. Blue suckers grew rapidly during juvenile stages (< age 5); however, growth slowed afterward.
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Biological characteristics of the blue sucker in the James River and the Big Sioux River, South Dakota