We assessed the distributions of three species of conservation concern, bluehead sucker (Catostomus discobolus), flannelmouth sucker (Catostomus latipinnis), and roundtail chub (Gila robusta), relative to habitat features across a headwater tributary system of the Colorado River basin in Wyoming. We studied the upper Muddy Creek watershed, Carbon County, portions of which experience intermittent flows during late summer and early fall. Fish and habitat were sampled from 57 randomly-selected, 200-m reaches and 416 habitat units (i.e., pools, glides, or runs) during the summer and fall of 2003 and 2004. Among reaches, the occurrences of adults and juveniles of all three species were positively related to mean wetted width and the surface area of pool habitat, and the occurrences of adult bluehead sucker and roundtail chub were also positively related to the abundance of rock substrate. Only juvenile bluehead sucker appeared to be negatively influenced by the proportion of a reach that was dry at the time of sampling. Within individual pools, glides, and runs, the occurrences of adults and juveniles of all three species were positively related to surface area and maximum depth, and occurrences of bluehead sucker and flannelmouth sucker juveniles were more probable in pools than in glides or runs.
Additional publication details
Habitat features affect bluehead sucker, flannelmouth sucker, and roundtail chub across a headwater tributary system in the Colorado River Basin