We report the first published accounts of spawning behavior and spawning site selection of the flannelmouth sucker in two small tributaries of the lower Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, Arizona. Spawning was observed on 20 March 1992 and from 28 March to 10 April 1993 in the Paria River, and from 16 to 19 March 1993 in Bright Angel Creek. Flannelmouth suckers exhibited promiscuous spawning behavior-individual females were typically paired with two or more males for a given event and sometimes changed partners between events. Multiple egg deposits by different females sometimes occurred at one spawning site. Flannelmouth sucker selected substrates from 16 to 32 mm diameter in both streams. Spawning occurred at depths of 10 to 25 cm in the Paria River and 19 to 41 cm in Bright Angel Creek. Mean column water velocities at spawning locations ranged from 0.15 to 1.0 m sec-1 in the Paria River and from 0.23 to 0.89 m sec-1 in Bright Angel Creek. Water temperatures recorded during spawning ranged from 9 to 18??C in the Paria River and 13 to 15??C in Bright Angel Creek. Spawning flannelmouth sucker ascended 9.8 km upstream in the Paria River and 1.25 km in Bright Angel Creek. Spawning females (410-580 mm) were significantly larger than spawning males (385-530 mm) in the Paria River. The mean size of spawning fish in the Paria River was significantly smaller than the entire stock, averaged throughout the study period (380-620 mm). However, fish spawning in 1992-1993 averaged 53 mm larger than fish spawning in the same reach of the Paria River in 1981, indicating a shift in the size structure of this stock.
Additional publication details
Spawning ecology of flannelmouth sucker, Catostomus lattipinnis (Catostomidae), in two small tributaries of the lower Colorado river