This study was conducted to assess the influence of elevation and stream width on the occurrence of 28 native and six exotic fish species using data collected (1954-2003) from 1,114 stream reaches in Wyoming. Medians and ranges of elevation and stream width were used to assess how elevation and stream width influenced the occurrence of individual species and to indicate which species had large and small ranges of distribution. Twenty-four species were common at elevations below 1,550 m and 31 species occurred in streams less than 20 m wide. The six exotic species had the potential to overlap all of the native species with regard to both elevation and stream width. In general, species that were collected over a wide range of elevations were also collected over a wide range of stream widths. Red shiner (Cyprinella lutrensis) and river carpsucker (Carpiodes carpio) occurred over the smallest elevation ranges (< 250 m), whereas longnose sucker (Catostomus catostomus) was sampled over the greatest elevation ranges (> 2,500 m). Longnose sucker and white sucker (Catostomus commersoni) occurred over the greatest ranges in stream widths (> 90 m), and brook stickleback (Culaea inconstans), black bullhead (Ameiurus melas), and quillback (Carpiodes cyprinus) were found over the lowest ranges in stream widths (< 12 m). The distributions of native and exotic species in streams that transition from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains were largely explained by elevation and stream width.
Additional publication details
Elevation and stream-size thresholds affect distributions of native and exotic warmwater fishes in Wyoming