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Humpback Chub Gila cypha


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Humpback Chub
© John Rinne/U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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Family: Cyprinidae, Carps and Minnows view all from this family

Description To 20" (49 cm). Moderately elongate, with distinctive hump on nape (in adults) overhanging head. Greenish-gray above, sides lighter, whitish below. Breeding males reddish-orange below and on paired fins. Head short; snout depressed, broadly rounded, overhanging mouth. Fins large, triangular; 9 dorsal fin rays; 10 or more anal fin rays; caudal peduncle very long and narrow; caudal fin deeply forked.

Endangered Status The Humpback Chub is on the U.S. Endangered Species List. It is classified as endangered in Arizona, Colorado, and Utah. Its numbers have declined throughout its original range, in the Colorado, Green, Yampa, White, and Little Colorado Rivers, and it has disappeared in some areas due to impoundments, water diversions, and the introduction of exotic fishes. This fish was adapted to the turbulent waters, the temperatures, and the food sources of the Colorado River and its tributaries. The massive dams built along the river changed all that, and a number of fish declined precipitously. The Colorado River Fish Recovery Team and other groups are working to bring native species back to stretches of river between the dams.

Habitat Swift channels of large, turbid rivers.

Range Colorado River system, SW. Wyoming to Mexico. Currently found in Green River drainage, Utah, and Mojave Reservoir, Arizona-Nevada border.