“This species appears in schools along with Catostomus [Tahoe sucker], small examples of the latter being easily distinguished in the water by the large dark spots on the sides. It usually appears in small numbers in the lower courses of streams, but is often more abundant where the current is swift. Individuals do not appear to reach a large size; no specimen over 6 inches in length was seen.” -John Otterbein Snyder, 1917
Our local mountain suckers were once classified as a unique species – the Lahontan mountainsucker (Pantosteus lahontan) – but they have since been grouped with other mountain suckers of the Western US under the name Catostomus platyrhynchus. Mountain suckers feed on algae attached to rocks, aquatic insects, crustaceans, plants and other items. As adults, they prefer areas of clear, cool, swift-moving water 1-3 feet deep, but young mountain suckers prefer shallower areas (Sigler & Sigler 1987). They spawn from June to early August (Moyle 2002), and sometimes hybridize with the Tahoe sucker (Sigler 1987), potentially making identification difficult. Moyle (2002) reports that high densities of mountain suckers may be found in the Truckee River upstream from Reno. They rarely live in lakes and are not found in Tahoe or Pyramid (Moyle 2002).
Decker, L. M. 1989. Coexistence of two species of sucker, Catostomus, in Sagehen Creek, California, and notes on their status in the western Lahontan Basin. Great Basin Naturalist 49(4):540-55
Moyle, P. B. (2002). Inland fishes of California. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Rivers, I. L. (1994). Fishes and fisheries of Nevada. Reno: University of Nevada Press.
Sigler, W. F., & Sigler, J. W. (1987). Fishes of the Great Basin: A natural history. Reno: University of Nevada Press.
Snyder, John O. 1917. The Fishes of the Lahontan System of Nevada and Northeastern California. Bulletin of the Bureau of Fisheries, Volume XXXV, 1915-16. Document No. 843, September 28, 1917.