Common Name

Scientific Name

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Photo by Unknown Photographer
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The desert sucker, Catostomus clarkii, is native to parts of the Colorado River system of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. In Utah, the species occurs only in the Virgin River system in the southwestern corner of the state. In addition to its limited distribution, primary threats to the species in Utah include dewatering of the Virgin River system for development and agriculture, pollution, and the introductions of exotic turtles and fishes (which can impact the desert sucker through predation and/or competition).

Desert suckers are benthic (bottom dwelling) fish that primarily eat algae, although insects and other invertebrates are also occasionally consumed. Members of the species almost always occur in streams, where spawning occurs in riffles during the winter and spring.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Sigler, W. F. and J. W. Sigler. 1996. Fishes of Utah[:] a natural history. University of Utah Press. Salt Lake City. 375 pp.