About June Sucker: Indicator Species

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June sucker feed by opening their mouths as they swim through the water in groups. Special adaptations, called gill rakers, filter plankton from the water as it passes by their gills.

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The June sucker plays an important role in Utah Lake's ecosystem. As pelagic planktivores, June sucker feed on single-celled zooplankton in the middle water column of Utah Lake. Without the June sucker the lake is missing an important link. In the natural system, June sucker were the food source for Bonneville cutthroat trout and fish-eating birds, such as the American white pelican.

The June sucker can be considered an indicator species. Scientists observe indicator species to monitor how well an ecosystem is functioning. When these species are not doing well, the ecosystem is not functioning as it should.