The humpback chub is a remarkable member of the minnow family that is green to silver and white with an abrupt hump behind the head. They grow to about 18 inches in length. Range
: The historic range of the humpback is similar to the pikeminnow, occurring in great numbers throughout the Colorado River system from Green River in Wyoming to the Gulf of California in Mexico. Today, they can be found in deep, canyon-bound portions of the Colorado River system such as Black Rocks and Westwater canyons on the Colorado River and Yampa Canyon inside Dinosaur National Monument.
Habitat: The humpback prefers deep, fast-moving, turbid waters often associated with large boulders and steep cliffs.
Diet: Humpback chubs feed predominately on small aquatic insects, diatoms and filamentous algae.
Reproduction: Spawning occurs between April and July during high flows from snowmelt. During breeding, males develop red tinges on the venter and cheeks.
Endangered status: The humpback chub is listed as threatened in Colorado and endangered federally. The construction of dams and other water diversion projects have contributed to its decline. Such diversions lower water temperatures, which prevents spawning downstream, and block migration routes. Humpback populations appear to be recovering in Yampa, Desolation-Gray, Westwater and Cataract canyons, and in Black Rocks in the Upper Colorado River basin. Populations in the Grand Canyon and Little Colorado River in the Lower Colorado River basin are also fairing better. These populations are currently being monitored for abundance. Removal of non-native fish is occuring in Yampa Canyon to enhance survival of humpback chub.
For more information, see the Natural Diversity Information Source species profile.