This study was conducted to document the life history and ecological characteristics of the Santa Ana sucker, Catostomus santaanae, within its native range in southern California. Electrofishing surveys were conducted at 3-month intervals from December 1998 to December 1999 at one site on the San Gabriel River and two sites on the Santa Ana River. Suckers were captured in the San Gabriel River (average, 6.6 fish/10-
minutes electrofishing) and at an upstream Santa Ana River site (average, 2.3 fish/10-minutes electrofishing) but not at a downstream Santa Ana River site. Length frequency distributions indicated that at least three year classes (modal groups) of suckers were present in the San Gabriel River, whereas one or two year classes were present in the Santa Ana River. Collection of 21-30 mm standard length (SL) juveniles in June in the Santa Ana River and in September in the San Gabriel River indicated that reproduction occurred over several months. In December, Age-0 suckers averaged 36-48 mm SL in the San Gabriel River and 63-65 mm SL in the Santa Ana River, whereas Age-1 suckers averaged 86 mm SL in the San Gabriel River and 115 mm SL in the Santa Ana River. On average, suckers were in better body condition in the San Gabriel River than in the Santa Ana River. Highest abundance of suckers was associated with relatively
pristine environmental conditions (especially low specific conductance) where other native fishes were also common or abundant.