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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Mountain Sucker - Catostomus platyrhynchus

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:


 

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General Description
The mountain sucker has a more limited habitat than other Montana suckers. It is virtually limited to running waters east of the Divide. It also is the smallest sucker in Montana with its largest specimens having a length of about 9 inches.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Back and upper sides are dusky or dark green with black specks; may have dark mottling shaped like saddles across the back; lower body whitish. Both sexes have a reddish orange band along sides during breeding season; band is brighter, longer, and wider in male. Mouth is so long it sometimes exceeds head width. See Snyder and Muth (1990) for a guide to the identification of larvae and early juveniles. No other Montana sucker has a notch in each corner of mouth.

Species Range
Montana Range

Year-round

Western Hemisphere Range

 


Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 626

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

 

(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



Habitat
Cold, clear streams with rubble, gravel or sand bottoms; sometimes turbid streams but seldom lakes. Found principally in riffle habitat in middle Missouri River study.

Food Habits
Mostly algae, aquatic plants and invertebrates obtain from the cobbles and pebbles from the stream bottom.

Ecology
Young prefer slower side channels or weedy backwaters. Seldom exceed 6 inches in length as adults.

Reproductive Characteristics
Sexually mature : males in 2 -3 yrs., females in 4 years. Spawns June - July when water temperatures exceed 50 degrees F. Incubation period probably short.

References
  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Snyder, D.E., and R.T. Muth. 1990. Description and identification of razorback, flannelmouth, white, Utah, bluehead, and mountain sucker larvae and early juveniles. Colorado Division of Wildlife Tech. Publ. No. 38. 152 pp.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Clancey, C.G. 1978. The fish and aquatic invertebrates in Sarpy Creek, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 54 p.
    • Gilham, A.T. 2016. Relationship between intensity of livestock grazing and trout biomass in headwaters of east front rocky mountain streams, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 45 p.
    • Gillespie, D.M. 1966. Population studies of four species of mollusks in the Madison River, Yellowstone National Park. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 43 p.
    • Gunderson, D.R. 1966. Stream morphology and fish populations in relation to floodplain use. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 21 p.
    • Hauser, W.J. 1968. Life history of the mountain sucker (Catostomus platyrhynchus) in Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 23 p.
    • Pierce, B.E. 1963. Distribution of fish in a small mountain stream in relation to temperature. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 16 p.
    • Ritter, T.J. 2015. Connectivity in a montane river basin: Salmonid use of a major tributary in the Smith River system. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 120 p.
    • Rosenthal, L.R. 2007. Evaluation of distribution and fish passage in relation to road culverts in two eastern Montana prairie streams. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 78 p.
    • Sloat, M.R. 2001. Status of westslope cutthroat trout in the Madison River basin: the influence of dispersal barriers and stream temperature. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 118 p.
    • Stash, S.W. 2001. Distribution, relative abundance, and habitat associations of Milk River fishes related to irrigation diversion dams. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 82 p.
    • Stevenson, H.R. 1975. The trout fishery of the Bighorn River below Yellowtail Dam, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 67 p.
    • Stringer, A.L. 2018. Status of Northern Pearl Dace and chrosomid dace in prairie streams of Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 150 p.
    • Sundeen, D.R. 1968. Abundance and movement of young trout in a portion of the Madison River, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 19 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Mountain Sucker — Catostomus platyrhynchus.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from