Humpback Chub

The humpback chub Gila cypha, is a federally protected fish that lived originally in fast waters of the Colorado River system in the United States. This species takes its name from the prominent hump between the head and dorsal fin, which is thought to direct the flow of water over the body and help maintain body position in the swift currents of the Colorado. The body is almost entirely scaleless, retaining only about 80 mid-lateral scales along the lateral line. The fish is very streamlined, with a thin caudal peduncle and a deeply forked tail. The back is a light olive gray, the sides silver, and the belly white. The dorsal fin usually has nine rays, and the anal fin 10 or more. Maximum recorded length is 38 cm.

The humpback chub mostly consumes invertebrates and, to a lesser extent, other fish. They feed at all levels from the bottom to the surface. The species spawns from April through June, at water temperatures of 19-21°C. The males develop nuptial tubercles on the head and paired fins. The fish spawn in slower-moving backwaters, typically over a substrate of cobbles or boulders. Young fish stay near shore and in quiet areas, preferring slightly more turbid water.

The humpback chub's population in the Colorado has been reduced dramatically, primarily due to habitat loss, such as the construction of Glen Canyon Dam. The fish's status as an endangered species has inspired a number of costly and controversial management measures, such as altering the operation of Glen Canyon Dam and removal of non-native predators.

Read more about Humpback ChubDescription, Range, Habitat, Parasites and Diseases, Population Trends, Management and Conservation

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Humpback Chub - Management and Conservation
... ameliorate effects of nonnative fish and parasite sources in chub waters monitor status of all populations ... The humpback chub's status as an endangered species has prompted elaborate, highly controversial, and expensive programs to restore its numbers, largely by modifying the releases from Glen Canyon Dam ... the following two years additional young chubs will be released there ...