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Wildlife Flannelmouth Sucker Page


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This photograph may be used for non-commercial purposes.  Please give credit to the photographer.
Photo by: John Woodling
 Flannelmouth sucker
 Catostomus latipinnis

Habitat: The flannelmouth sucker inhabits larger streams and rivers in all habitat types including riffles, runs, eddies, and backwaters. The species does not appear to maintain viable populations in impoundments (Minckley 1973).

Description: An elongated sucker, oval in cross section; snout blunt and broad, overhanging ventral mouth; no notch or indentation at the lateral connection of lower and upper lips, thick upper lip with 5-8 rows of papillae, median indentation of lower lip complete, at most one row of papillae separating indentation and edge of lower jaw; dorsal fin is falcate (sickle-shaped) with 11-13 rays; scales are small, crowded near head; more than 90 scales along lateral line. Adults in clear water are greenish-blue- grey on the back, fading to yellow on the sides and to white on the belly. In turbid water, with a sand or mud bottom, flannelmouths are light tan on the back, white and silver on the sides and belly. Young are lighter colored. Anal and pelvic fins yellowish. Dorsal and tail fin dusky. A large species, one specimen attained a weight of 3.5 pounds and was 22 inches long (McDonald and Dotson 1960).

Range in Colorado: The flannelmouth is restricted to larger streams and rivers in the middle and upper Colorado River Drainage, including parts of Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona and Nevada. In Colorado, the flannelmouth is found only in large rivers on the western slope. This species and the bluehead sucker have disappeared from some waters, such as the Gunnison River above Blue Mesa Reservoir, since the 1960's. The white and longnose suckers, introduced from East Slope waters, have replaced the flannelmouth and bluehead in the upper Gunnison River. Competition with the introduced species and/or cold water temperatures from reservoir releases probably led to the disappearance of the flannelmouth from the upper Gunnison.

Status: This species is not listed.






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