Biology ETDs

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The initial purpose of this work was to study the rela­tionship between Pantosteus plebeius (Baird and Girard), the Rio Grande mountain-sucker, and Catostomus commersoni (Lacépède ), the common white sucker, in Jemez Creek drainage, Sandoval County, New Mexico. Because insufficient informa­tion on Catostomus commersoni could be obtained, the food and feeding habits of Pantosteus plebeius were studied as an al­ternative.

Mountain-suckers were captured and observed in Jemez Creek drainage. The intestinal contents of 145 specimens were ex­amined in detail. The intestinal contents of other specimens were examined cursorily.

Pantosteus plebeius are omnivorous and they use a pair of cartilaginous jaw ridges to scrape Aufwuchs (attached organ­isms) from submerged rocks. The animal portion of their food consisted of aquatic invertebrates and postlarval fish of their own species. The plant portion of their food consisted of diatoms, filamentous blue-green algae, and the filamentous green alga, Cladophora.

Because the area has been highly disturbed, the streams within Jemez Creek watershed often carry excessive loads of sediment. During recession of high water, sand and silt are deposited upon the Aufwuchs and Pantosteus plebeius ingest this inorganic material with their food, Had the original problem been to study food habits, it would have been desir­able to work in some less disturbed area.



Document Type


Degree Name


Department Name

UNM Biology Department

First Committee Member (Chair)

William Jacob Koster

Second Committee Member

Loren David Potter

Third Committee Member

William Wayne Johnson

Fourth Committee Member

William George Degenhardt

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Biology Commons