Nevada Fish & Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region

Warner sucker
(Catostomus warnerensis)

Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Catostomidae
Genus: Catostomus
Species: warnerensis
Length: about 20 inches
Lifespan: up to 17 years
Habitat: endemic to the Warner Basin of southeastern Oregon and northeastern Nevada
Feed: larvae feed on invertebrates in midwater or on the surface; as the species gets older it becomes generally benthic, feeding on diatoms, filamentous algae, and detritus

Official Status:


Life History:

The Warner sucker has two overlapping life histories that have evolved in response to environmental influences, the stream and lake residents. The lake habitats are productive, but subject to periodic desiccation. Lake suckers are larger than their stream counterparts.

Warner suckers in the lakes are considered potadromous, because they primarily spawn in the streams and rear in the lakes. However, when streams are inaccessible due to low stream flows or impassable barriers, lake suckers have been observed spawning on limited lake shore gravel beds. Spawning occurs in the spring (April through early-June) and is associated with warming stream temperatures and relatively high spring runoff. Adult suckers mature at 3-4 years and have been aged up to 17 years.

Distribution and Habitat:

  The Warner sucker is endemic to the streams and lakes of the Warner Basin in south-central Oregon. The species is presently known to occur in portions of Crump and Hart Lakes, the spillway canal north of Hart Lake, and portions of Snyder, Honey, Twentymile, and Twelvemile Creeks (USFWS 1985). The species was once abundant within its range.

During times of high flow the species is able to inhabit all areas within its range. However, in times of low flow the lake habitat in inaccessible and the lake population declines. Generally, stream dwelling individuals inhabit stretches of slow flowing streams that can be characterized as long pools (50m (166.6ft) or longer) (USFWS 1998). Habitat use by lake resident suckers appears to be similar to that of stream resident suckers in that adult suckers are generally found in the deepest available water where food is plentiful.


  The decline of the species is attributed to human induced habitat modification and degradation including irrigation diversion, watershed degradation, and competition and predation by introduced exotic species.

Actions / Current Information:


Plan Action Status
Plan Status
  04/27/1998 Recovery Plan for the Native Fishes of the Warner Basin and Alkali Subbasin (4MB PDF) View Implementation Progress Final
Last updated: April 16, 2014