Shelledy Elementary


Colorado Life Zones: Seasons, Plants, & Animals

Step 1: Choose One of the Life Zones or Choices Below

Life Zones Menu Bar
Colorado Life Zones General Information Interactive Elevation & Life Zone Diagram Colorado Maps: Life Zones and More Semidesert Shrublands (West CO) Shortgrass Plains Life Zone (East CO) Foothills Woodlands & Shrublands Montane Forests Life Zone Subalpine Life Zone Alpine Life Zone Riparian Life Zones

Riparian Life Zones: Seasons, Plants, & Animals

Step 2: Choose a Topic from the Riparian Life Zones & Scroll Down

General Information
General Information

Riparian Life Zones Tamarisk Russian Olive
Tamarisks & Russian Olives: Problem Trees

Riparian Life Zones Fish

Riparian Life Zones Awesome Adaptations
Awesome Adaptations

Riparian Life Zones Plants Trees of the Riparian Life Zones
Plants and Trees

Riparian Life Zones Mammals

Riparian Life Zones Birds

Riparian Life Zones Reptiles and Amphibians
Reptiles & Amphibians

Fish of the Riparian Life Zones

The ponds, streams, lakes, and rivers support many different species of fish. Different species of chub tend to live in rivers. Different species of trout tend to live in mountain streams, ponds, and lakes. Sunfish, bass, perch, and walleyes tend to live in reservoirs and lakes at lower altitudes.

Humpback Chub

CO Div of Wildlife

Utah Div of Wildlife


Many different types of fish

CO Div of Wildlife

Utah Div of Wildlife

Rainbow Trout
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Awesome Adaptations: Cutthroat Trout

In Colorado there are 3 different species or kinds of cutthroat trout: greenback, Rio Grande, and Colorado. The cutthroat trout are native fish, meaning they have been living here for a long time. The greenback cutthroat trout is the state fish of Colorado. They are called cutthroat because they have a 2 red colored stripes on the bottom of its head making it look like they have a cut throat. They have adapted to live in extremely cold water and live in high mountain lakes and streams. Often times in fast moving streams, they will be in large pools or eddys in the water where the water is not as fast. They eat fresh water shrimp, insects, and small fish. In late spring they can lay up to 6000 eggs in small rocky holes. They lay so many eggs because only a small number of the eggs will ever survive long enough to become adult fish. In the winter they find a deep slow sheltered part of the stream or lake and become less active to save energy.

The cutthroat trout is listed as endangered in Colorado. Just the fact that they are still around today shows how tough the cutthroat trout are and how much the Colorado Division of Wildlife has helped save the species. They have had about every kind of human caused hardship possible. First, many different kinds of non-native trout species like brook trout, rainbow trout, and brown trout have been put in many of the mountain streams and lakes that the native cutthroat trout live in. The other kinds of trout eat the cutthroat eggs and small cutthroat trout. Some of other trout also had whirling disease which spread to and killed many cutthroat trout. Also, they were overfished by fisherman before the Colorado Division of Wildlife started to protect them.

The cutthroat trout need clean rocky streams to live in. Overgrazing of cattle and sheep, building dams, mining, and large clearcut logging can put too much mud or sediment in the water and kill the trout. In addition, Colorado has had many mining booms and busts since the late 1850's. The chemicals used by mining companies to separate the gold and silver from the rock has polluted some of the trout's mountain streams and lakes. When species become extinct, the loss affects the food web of the habitat or life zone. Over time, if humans can't help save and restore some of the very same animals and places we have almost destroyed, then enough of the food web may die off to seriously impact and hurt entire habitats or ecosystems.

Sources of information and for more information: CO Div of Wildlife

Colorado Cutthroat Trout

Greenback Cutthroat Trout

Colorado Cutthroat Trout Greenback Cutthroat Trout
Indian Paintbrush flowers by a mountain stream Alpine lake

Cutthroat trout live in high mountain streams and lakes.