Tracking Endangered Blue Suckers


In 1998 Biotactic, Inc. was initially retained for a telemetric assessment of blue sucker (Cycleptus elongatus) spawning behavior and habitat use as part of a water diversion environmental assessment. This work was carried out in association with Espey-Huston and Associates, and Bio-West Inc., Austin, Texas and involved tracking fish implanted with transmitters and released back into the Lower Colorado River, between Austin and the Gulf of Mexico.

In October 2004 we implanted an additional thirty Texas state endangered blue suckers (Cycleptus elongatus) with radio transmitters that we (Bio-West, Austin and Biotactic) monitored continuously for 3 years by air and by water.  Results from this study were used to interpret flow models for the Colorado River, Texas in relation to several variables including available fish habitat and critical habitat utilization patterns (e.g., spawning habitat).  Blue suckers were used to help illustrate the potential impacts of at least 50 years of future flow regulation and water diversion on fisheries in the Colorado River downstream from Austin.

Beginning in October 2012, we facilitated the set-up of a year long combined radio and acoustic telemetry project on the Sabine River between Texas and Louisiana (with Bio-West, Austin). For this project seven underwater receivers as well as mobile boat and aircraft tracking were used to monitor and track the movement and habitat utilization of 56 CART and radio-tagged blue suckers, including the first juvenile fish ever radio-tagged and tracked.
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