IUCN threat status:

Endangered (EN)

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The humpback chub (Gila cypha) is a member of the Cyprinidae family, and is distinguishable from other chubs by a pronounced hump that arises above the gills and extends to the origin of the dorsal fin. It has a flattened, concave head; small eyes; subterminal, beak-like mouth; a long snout that protrudes over the lower jaw; and large fins. The humpback chub is grey or olive colored on its back, with silver sides and a white belly. During the spawning season, adults will develop rosy-red fins and gill coverings. The Humpback chub’s diet includes aquatic and terrestrial arthropods, small fishes, diatoms, planktonic crustaceans and algae.



Some areas of the Colorado River are turbulent. Consequently, it is believed that the hump causes the humpback chub to be pushed to the bottom where water velocities are lower and where the chub can hold its position without exerting excess energy. Grooves associated with the hump may aid in directing water to the fish’s gills (Minckley 1973). The long snout and beak-like mouth may allow the fish to feed without the mouth becoming filled with rushing water.



Historically ranged from below present-day Hoover Dam in the Colorado River upstream into Colorado, and in the larger portions of Colorado River tributaries in Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming.

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Supplier: Bob Corrigan

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