California Fish Species
Sacramento suckers are capable of thriving in diverse conditions within streams, lakes, and mild estuarine environments. Most suckers are found in clear cool streams and in lakes at moderate elevations. Sacramento suckers often share waters with pikeminnow, roach, and hardhead. Young larvae typically begin their life in streams or lake tributaries by hiding and remaining in the gravel substrate. The post-larval and juvenile fish are often swept downstream in the current when they enter the main flow. Sacramento suckers have a diet made up of mostly algae, invertebrates, and detritus. The larval suckers feed on detritus and browse the bottom in warm protected streams, while juvenile fish forage along the bottom of stream banks of these warm streams. Young fish may stay in this warm water for several years before moving into lakes or larger rivers. Adult fish typically rest or hold in the deeper water during the day and feed during the first and last hours of the day. The larger fish may occupy pools, runs, or riffles in area where vegetation or rocks provide cover from birds and other predators. Their diet consists mostly of diatoms and detritus, with invertebrates playing a smaller role. The fish tend to grow larger and more rapidly in warmer streams and lakes as opposed to streams that are cool year round. At age 4-6 Sacramento suckers become sexually mature and begin a spawning ritual that may involve a migration to a warmer and smaller stream. Spawning is triggered by the onset of warmer water temperatures and usually occurs between February and June. Suckers spawn in groups, sending fertilized eggs down into the substrate and out into the current. The eggs settle in gravel and slackwater areas, hatching after 2-4 weeks.
Video of juvenile Sacramento suckers:
Links to Other Research
Please note, watersheds are at the USGS 8-digit Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) scale, so they often include a lot of sub-watersheds. If a species occurs in any sub-watershed within the HUC, the species appears within the HUC. Link to an EPA page that shows HUCs.