Zooarchaeological Data Suggest Broader Early Historic Distribution for Blue Sucker (Cycleptus elongatus) in New Mexico

Date and Time: 
Friday, 18 March, 2016 - 10:30
, Jonathan - Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico

The blue sucker (Cycleptus elongatus) is an endangered fish currently experiencing range reduction in the State of New Mexico, but poor documentation of the historic range of this species means the extent of its habitat loss is unclear. In the early sixties, two blue sucker skeletal elements were reported from a late prehistoric/early historic archaeological site, suggesting the range of blue sucker once extended into northern New Mexico. Since that publication, however, little consideration has been given to the past presence of this species in the Upper Rio Grande. New zooarchaeological data from Ponsipa (LA 297), a site in northern New Mexico, reveal the presence of multiple blue sucker skeletal elements. This information suggests a broader pre-impoundment distribution for blue sucker than previously recognized and can help establish a new baseline for their conservation and/or restoration in New Mexico.