, Volume 771, Issue 1, pp 255–263 | Cite as

Archaeological data suggest broader early historic distribution for blue sucker (Cycleptus elongatus, Actinopterygii, Catostomidae) in New Mexico

  • Jonathan Dombrosky
  • Steve Wolverton
  • Lisa Nagaoka
Primary Research Paper


Zooarchaeological data are increasingly important for establishing late Holocene conservation baselines for species of concern. The blue sucker (Cycleptus elongatus) is experiencing range reduction and is endangered in the State of New Mexico. The early historic (ca. AD 1540) distribution of blue sucker is poorly understood, and the extent of habitat loss is unclear. In 1961, two blue sucker skeletal elements were recovered from a late prehistoric/early historic archaeological site in northern New Mexico called Rainbow House (LA 217). Those remains suggest that the past range of blue sucker was larger; however, since that publication, little consideration has been given to the past presence of this species in the Upper Rio Grande. New zooarchaeological data from a site in northern New Mexico called Ponsipa (LA 297) have revealed the presence of multiple blue sucker skeletal elements. Additionally, a review of site reports and regional archaeological journal publications increased the abundance of blue sucker elements found at Rainbow House and added three archaeological sites where blue sucker has been reported in the region. Collectively, this information suggests a broader pre-impoundment distribution for blue sucker than previously recognized and can help establish a new baseline for their conservation or restoration in New Mexico.


Applied zooarchaeology Applied biogeography Blue sucker (Cycleptus elongatusNew Mexico Upper Rio Grande 



Thanks to Chris Sagebiel and Ernest Lundelius at the Vertebrate Paleontology Lab for access to the recent vertebrate collection and for loaning the blue sucker specimens to UNT. Thanks as well to Emily Jones and Alexandra Snyder for helping us procure river carpsucker specimens from the Museum of Southwestern Biology for photographing. Access to the Ponsipa fauna would not have been possible without permission from the Bureau of Land Management and the Laboratory of Anthropology.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Dombrosky
    • 1
  • Steve Wolverton
    • 2
  • Lisa Nagaoka
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeographyUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA

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