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Gravel Chub

Gravel Chub
Erimystax x-punctata

New York Status: Threatened


Gravel Chub

The gravel chub is a small minnow, reaching about four inches in length. Its body is nearly cylindrical in shape and tapers from head to tail. It has rather large eyes that are located toward the top of the head. The body color is olive green on top and shades to silvery-white on the belly. There are conspicuous X or W shaped markings found on the upper side of the body. The lateral line is nearly straight and there is a terminal barbel found near the mouth.

Life History

Little biological information is available concerning the gravel chub. It is known that in Kansas, this chub spawns in early spring. Adult fish were observed congregating in swift water areas on a gravel bar. The gravel chub is a bottom feeder, thought to eat aquatic insects.

Distribution and Habitat

The gravel chub is found in east-central North America. It has a spotty distribution, occurring from south-central Arkansas north to southern Minnesota and east to southern Ontario and western New York. In New York, the gravel chub is found only in the Allegheny basin. It occurs in medium to large-sized streams and, as its name implies, it prefers a gravel or firm sand-gravel substrate. The gravel chub favors cleaner waters and is intolerant of silt.

Population Status

Gravel chub populations are declining throughout their range. In some areas, such as southern Ontario, the gravel chub is listed as extirpated. The cause of declines in gravel chub populations is habitat destruction due to silt buildup. The gravel chub requires clear, clean water and substrates, and its presence is considered an indication of good water quality. It was last caught in 1979.

Management/Research Needs

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) goal is to establish a secure, abundant and self-sustaining population of the gravel chub in the Allegheny River drainage basin. DEC plans enhancing remnant stocks, and populations of gravel chubs will be monitored.

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