Common Name

Scientific Name

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

The humpback chub, Gila cypha, is a rare minnow native to the upper Colorado River system. Humpback chub originally thrived in the fast, deep, white-water areas of the Colorado River and its major tributaries, but flow alterations, which have changed the turbidity, volume, current speed, and temperature of the water in those rivers, have had significant negative impacts on the species. In fact, humpback chub in Utah are now confined to a few white-water areas in the Colorado, Green, and White Rivers. Because of the severe declines in humpback chub numbers and distribution, the species is Federally listed as endangered.

Humpback chub primarily eat insects and other invertebrates, but algae and fishes are occasionally consumed. The species spawns during the spring and summer in shallow, backwater areas with cobble substrate. Young humpback chub remain in these slow, shallow, turbid habitats until they are large enough to move into white-water areas.


  • 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.