Santa Ana Suckers are primarily found in small to medium sized streams that flow year-round and may vary in depth from several centimeters to over 1 m deep. They favor cool (<22°C) flowing water where gravel, rubble, and boulder substrates are present. While Santa Ana Suckers are commonly found in association with algae, they are not normally found among macrophytes. They use their scraping mouths to feed on algae and detritus, and may also feed on insects. The sucker’s natal streams are subject to severe flooding, though these fish are well adapted to re-colonize through early maturity, high fecundity, and extended spawning. Santa Ana Suckers rarely live more than four years but they reach sexual maturity in their second summer. Spawning occurs in gravelly riffles from mid-March until early June. Breeding behavior is probably very similar to that of other suckers with females being attended to by two or more males. Eggs are fertilized immediately because male fish release their milt as female fish deposit eggs. Female suckers release a total of about 4,000-16,000 eggs through multiple spawning acts. The fertilized eggs fall to the substrate where they stick to the gravel and incubate for approximately 36 hours. The emergent larvae develop a sub-terminal mouth when they reach a standard length of 16 mm.
Underwater video of Santa Ana Suckers:
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