Two noteworthy geographic distribution records for the white sucker, catostomus commersonii (cypriniformes: catostomidae), from northern arkansas.The white sucker, Catostomus commersonii (Laccpede) is a slender, terete fish with heavily papillose lips and very small scales that reaches a maximum length and weight of 635 mm and 3.3 kg, respectively (McPhail & Lindsey 1970: Lee & Kucas 1980). It has a vast range in a wide variety of streams and lakes east of the Rocky Mountains including northern Canada south to the Tennessee River drainage, northern Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia, and the Arkansas River drainage, New Mexico; it has been introduced in the Colorado River drainage, Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah (Page & Burr 2011). In Arkansas, C. commersonii is scarcely found along the northern boundary in the Arkansas and upper White River systems (Robison & Buchanan 1988). In addition, the Nature Conservancy (NatureServe 2009) lists populations as vulnerable (S3) in the state. To the author's knowledge, there have been no recent published noteworthy records of this fish from Arkansas since Robison & Buchanan (1988). The purpose of this note is to document two significant geographic distribution records for C. commersonii in the state.
On 17 October 2006 while shocking brown trout (Salmo trutta), a female (159 mm TL) C. commersonii was collected using a boat-mounted electrofisher, 200 m below the Norfork Dam, North Fork of the White River, Baxter County, Arkansas (36.14[degrees]N, 92.14[degrees]W). In addition, while collecting white crappie (Pomoxis annularis) brood stock, an adult male (331 mm TL) C. commersonii was taken on 17 March 2009 using a boat-mounted electrofisher from Simpson Slough, 0.4 km S of the White River bridge off US 167 in Batesville, Independence County, Arkansas (35.45[degrees]N, 91.39[degrees]W). Specimens were preserved in 10% formalin and later transferred to 45% isopropanol. The specimen from Baxter County was deposited in the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith fish collection as UA-FS 1899; the specimen from Independence County was deposited in the fish collection at Henderson State University, Arkadelphia, Arkansas as HSU 3331.
In Arkansas, C. commersonii is an uncommon schooling fish of small streams where it prefers spring pools and spring-fed feeder creeks with sizeable amounts of aquatic vegetation and gravelly bottoms (Robison & Buchanan 1988). In adjacent Oklahoma, it is found in clear Ozark streams of the extreme northeastern part of the state (Miller & Robison 2004). The new site in Independence County (Simpson Slough) can be characterized as an old White River channel and muddy lowland slough with high turbidity that drains cleared row crop bottomlands, which is atypical of white sucker habitat.
There are seven pre-1960 records of C. commersonii from the state, most from the northwestern corner of the Illinois River drainage but including a disjunct record from a tributary of the Spring River to the east (Robison & Buchanan 1988) (Fig. 1). Nine additional records are available for the period 1960-1987, all from Illinois River drainage streams (Robison & Buchanan 1988) (Fig. 1). In addition, there is a record of the white sucker from the upper White River system, a small feeder stream south of Bull Shoals Reservoir (Robison & Buchanan 1988) (Fig. 1).
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
Robison & Buchanan (1988) suggested that the scattered populations of C. commersonii in the Illinois River drainage are threatened by progressive deterioration of that system's aquatic environment. However, Trauthman (1957) suggested the white sucker is tolerant of siltation and other pollutants. Interestingly, as recent as July 2007, ichthyologists from the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences-Raleigh (Wayne Starnes, pers. comm.) collected several other catostomids using backpack electroshockers and conventional seining, but not any C. commersonii from white sucker historical sites (Benton and Washington counties). In Oklahoma, Miller & Robison (2004) noted the critical factor in maintaining populations of white suckers may be absence of appropriate spawning habitat throughout most of the state.
In summary, this study documents two significant geographic distribution records for the rarely collected white sucker, including the southernmost range extension in the state. The species has now been reported from watersheds in seven counties of Arkansas, including Baxter, Benton, Fulton, Independence, Madison, Marion, and Washington. Further studies into determining the overall distribution of this fish in the northeastern part of the state are suggested, particularly in the Black and White rivers and their tributaries using boat stream electroshocking as this species and other suckers (McAllister et al. 2009) are not often collected by seine or shocking a riffle with backpack equipment.
We thank Drs. Tom Buchanan (UA-FS) and Renn Tumlison (HSU) for curatorial assistance, Wayne Starnes (NCSM-Raleigh) for sharing some Arkansas fish records, and Stan Todd (AG&F-Mountain Home) for assistance with collecting.
Lee, D. S. & S. T. Kucas. 1980. Catostomus commersoni. Pp. 375-376, in Atlas of North American Freshwater Fishes (D. S. Lee, C. R. Gilbert, C. H. Hocutt, R. E. Jenkins, D. E. McAllister & J. R. Stauffer, Jr., eds). North Carolina St. Mus. Nat. Hist., Raleigh, ix + 854 pp.
McAllister, C. T., W. C. Starnes, H. W. Robison, R. E. Jenkins & M. E. Raley. 2009. Distribution of the Silver Redhorse, Moxostoma anisurum (Cypriniformes: Catostomidae), in Arkansas. Southwest. Nat., 54:514-518.
McPhail, J. D. & C. C. Lindsey. 1970. Freshwater fishes of northwestern Canada andAlaska. Bull. Fish. Res. Bd. Canada, 173:1-381.
Miller R. J. & H. W. Robison. 2004. Fishes of Oklahoma. Univ. Oklahoma Press, Norman, 450 pp.
NatureServe. 2009. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [webapplication]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://www.nalureserve.org/explorer. (Accessed: April 20, 2009).
Page, L. M. & B. M. Burr. 2011. A field guide to freshwater fishes: North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 688 pp.
Robison, H. W. & T. M. Buchanan. 1988. Fishes of Arkansas. Univ. Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, 536 pp.
Trautman, M. B. 1957. The fishes of Ohio. Ohio State Univ. Press, Columbus, 638 pp.
CTM at: email@example.com
Chris T. McAllister, Henry W. Robison and Kenneth E. Shirley
Science and Mathematics Division, Eastern Oklahoma State College 2805 NE Lincoln Road, Idabel, Oklahoma 74745 Department of Biology, Southern Arkansas University, Magnolia, Arkansas 71754 and Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, Fisheries District 2 201 East 5th Street, Mountain Home, Arkansas 72653