Razorback Sucker

Painting of a Razorback Sucker

The razorback sucker is endemic to the Colorado River basin and was listed as an endangered species in 1991. Populations are currently in decline throughout the Colorado River basin and have decreased markedly during the last two decades in the lower basin, particularly in Lake Mohave.

Razorback suckers are restricted to a relatively small number of sites in the Colorado River system, from southwestern Wyoming to southeastern California.

Xyrauchen texanus has a more stable population in the lower basin of the Colorado River than the upper basin. Within the lower basin, Lake Mohave, Arizona contains the greatest population of razorback suckers. They are also found in Lake Mead and the Grand Canyon, as well as in some associated canals and impoundments (Gilbert and Williams, 2002). In the upper basin of the Colorado River, the largest surviving population is found in the Green and Yampa rivers.

Razorback suckers were once much more abundant and widely distributed. Xyrauchen texanus was found throughout the Colorado River and its major tributaries. As recent as the 1920's, human activities - such as dam builing - have degraded and destroyed the physical and biological components of the habitat of X. texanus and are directly responsible for the geographic range decline of this species.
Graph illustrating the IUCN threat level for razorback sucker.

Range Map

Map of North America, showing the razorback sucker range.
Legend for the range map uses red to show the razorback sucker's range.

An ongoing stocking program is attempting to enhance the number of suckers that reach maturity in Lake Mohave where young fish escape predation by non-native fishes. Since the early 1980's, the USFWS and Arizona Game and Fish Department have attempted to establish populations in the Gila, Verde and Salt rivers through stocking, but no fish survive in the long-term. In the upper Colorado River Basin, adults and larvae are widely distributed in the Green River basin, especially in the upper basin from the mouth of the Duchesne River, upstream to the lower 4miles of the Yampa River, rarely occurring upstream as far as the Little Snake River. Spawning has been documented in lower Yampa River near the confluence with Green River and in the upper Green River.


Fast Facts

Fast facts graphic about Razorback Suckers.

Interesting Facts



Threat Level provided by the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List.http://www.iucnredlist.org/

Last updated: December 14, 2022

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