Native fishes of the Upper Colorado River Basin have experienced substantial declines in abundance and distribution, and are extirpated from most of Wyoming. Muddy Creek, in south-central Wyoming (Little Snake River watershed), contains sympatric populations of native roundtail chub (Gila robusta), bluehead sucker, (Catostomus discobolus), and flannelmouth sucker (C. tatipinnis), and represents an area of high conservation concern because it is the only area known to have sympatric populations of all 3 species in Wyoming. However, introduced creek chub (Semotilus atromaculatus) are abundant and might have a negative influence on native fishes. We assessed summer food habits of roundtail chub and creek chub to provide information on the ecology of each species and obtain insight on potential trophic overlap. Roundtail chub and creek chub seemed to be opportunistic generalists that consumed a diverse array of food items. Stomach contents of both species were dominated by plant material, aquatic and terrestrial insects, and Fishes, but also included gastropods and mussels. Stomach contents were similar between species, indicating high trophic, overlap. No length-related patterns in diet were observed for either species. These results suggest that creek chubs have the potential to adversely influence the roundtail chub population through competition for food and the native fish assemblage through predation.
Additional publication details
Summer food habits and trophic overlap of roundtail chub and creek chub in Muddy Creek, Wyoming