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Conservation and Recovery of Hornyhead Chub

Hornyhead Chub from the Laramie River, downstream of the tunnel diversion.


July 2015 - June 2018


Hornyhead chub have fairly specific habitat requirements. In general, they prefer small to medium-sized rivers with sufficient flow to maintain cool, clear water, silt-free substrate, and cover (Miller et al. 2005, Bestgen 2013). Habitat selection surveys in Wyoming confirmed this and found they preferred sites deeper than 30cm with stable banks, little silt, and fewer non-native fish predators and that within a site they would select for depth, slower flows, finer substrate, and cover (Bestgen 2013). Surveys also found that hornyhead chub were commonly associated with creek chub, central stoneroller, common shiner, and white sucker. Hornyhead chub are thought to have a mutualistic relationship with common shiner as they will often share nest sites (Miller et al. 2005). This habitat work provides a good basis for assessing potential sites for hornyhead chub reintroduction.

The main threats to hornyhead chub populations are habitat degradation and interactions with non-native species (Miller et al. 2005). In the Laramie River, hornyhead chub co-exist with non-native salmonids which could prey on hornyhead chub. The extent of predation by brown trout (and to a lesser extent rainbow trout and brook trout) on hornyhead chub is not known. A better understanding of the potential role of predation on hornyhead chub populations is needed to ensure success of management and restoration efforts.

The goal of this proposed work is to develop potential management strategies for hornyhead chub population restoration and expansion. Specifically we plan to evaluate habitat suitability at potential introduction sites and explore the effects of predation by non-native salmonids.


Current Staff

Federal Staff: 102

Masters Students: 241

Phd Students: 163

Post Docs: 58

University Staff: 240

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 703

Scientific Publications: 1901

Presentations: 4321



Funding Agencies

  • Wyoming Game and Fish Department


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