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Volume 71—1991

{Page 51}

Range Extension into Western Oklahoma of the White Sucker, Castostomus commersoni (Lacepede)

Jimmie Pigg and Randy Parham
Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73124
Received: 1990 November 3

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The white sucker, Castostomus commersoni, ranges from the Arctic Circle south to New Mexico and Georgia, and occurs in a wide variety of habitats (1). This species previously had been collected only from the Ozarkian region of Oklahoma (2). However, a range map provided by Lee et al. (1) suggested occurrence of the species in the western tip of the Panhandle. In this paper we report such occurrence.

Sublette et al. (3) listed this sucker from two locations in Union County, New Mexico. Union County borders Cimarron County, Oklahoma on the west. One collection came from Cirrumpa Creek (Beaver River) east of Des Maine and the second collection from the Ute River, a tributary of the South Canadian River near Gladstone, New Mexico. In New Mexico this species was native to the Canadian River drainage, but is now more widely distributed because of introductions throughout the state.

On 24 September 1988 we collected seven specimens of white sucker from Cirrumpa Creek (Beaver River) 10 km south and 3.3 km east of Wheeless, in Cimarron County (S23, T2N, R1E, CMM), Oklahoma. This site is 7.5 km east of the New Mexico State Line and downstream approximately 72 km from a known location of this sucker in Union County, New Mexico (3).

The seven specimens varied in total length from 6.3 cm. to 21.9 cm. Total weight for the seven specimens was 288.6 g, the largest weighing 146.2 g. This sucker comprised 3% of the fish collected and 37% of the weight of fish collected. It was collected with Campostoma anomalum, Pimephales promelas, Ictalurus melas, Fundulus zebrinus, Lepomis macrochirus and Lepomis megalotis. We catalogued (OSDH 3131) the seven suckers into the Oklahoma State University Museum of Zoology fish collections in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

At the site of our collection, Cirrumpa Creek was a narrow (< 1 m), shallow channel with clear water. Most (80%) of the habitat was long (80 m), shallow (< 10.0 cm) riffles. The sampling site included two pools with slower-flowing water. The seven white suckers were taken from a large (5 x 10 m), deep (1.0 m) pool on the north side of the creek connected by a small channel to the mainstream. The pool was lined with broad leafed aquatic vegetation, rushes and cattails; small beds of filamentous green algae lined the edges of the water. The water was provided by subsurface seepage from a spring and flowed 10 km east from the state line before it disappeared into the dry streambed downstream.


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1.   Lee, D.S., Gilbert, C.R., Hocutt, C.H., Jenkins, R.E., McAllister, D.E., and Stauffer, J.R., (Eds.) Atlas of North American Freshwater Fishes, North Carolina Biological Survey, N. C. State Museum of Natural Sciences Publication 1980-12, Raleigh, NC (1980).

2.   Miller, R.J., and Robison, H.W., The Fishes of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University Press, Stillwater (1973).

3.   Sublette, J.E., Hatch, M.D., and Sublette, M., The Fishes of New Mexico, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM (1990).