Classification / Names
Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Cypriniformes
(Carps) > Catostomidae
(Suckers) > Catostominae
Etymology: Catostomus: Greek, kata = down + Greek, stoma = mouth (Ref. 45335); catostomus: catostomus meaning inferior mouth, alluding to the ventral position of the mouth.
Environment / Climate / Range
Freshwater; brackish; demersal; pH range: 6.5 - 7.8; dH range: 5 - 25; depth range ? - 180 m (Ref. 1998). Temperate; ? - 15°C (Ref. 12468); 38°N - 32°N
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 64.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 5723); common length : 22.5 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 12193); max. published weight: 3.3 kg (Ref. 28924); max. reported age: 20 years (Ref. 12193)
soft rays: 7;
Vertebrae: 45 - 47. Distinguished by the sucking mouth located on the ventral sides of the head and thick papillose lips (Ref. 27547). Gill rakers short; lateral line complete, inconspicuous; caudal tips slightly rounded (Ref. 27547). Adults may be reddish brown, dark brassy green or black above, paler on the lower sides, with the ventral parts white; young fish are usually dark gray with small black spots; breeding males are usually dark above with a brilliant reddish stripe along each side, while females are greenish gold to copper, with a less brilliant red stripe; breeding males show prominent tubercles on the rays of the anal and caudal fins and also on the head (Ref. 27547).
North America: throughout most of Canada and Alaska; Atlantic Slope south to Delaware River drainage in New York, USA; Great Lakes basin; upper Monongahela River drainage in Maryland and West Virginia, USA; Missouri River drainage south to Nebraska and Colorado, USA. Also in Arctic basin of Siberia in Russia. Occurs in Columbia River System (Molly Hallock, pers. comm.).
Found in clear, cold, deep water of lakes and tributary streams; occasionally found in brackish water in the Arctic (Ref. 5723). Moves from lakes into inlet streams or from slow, deep pools into shallow, gravel-bottomed portions of streams to spawn (Ref. 27547). Feeds on benthic invertebrates (Ref. 1998). Young are preyed upon by other fishes and fish-eating birds; while adults in spawning streams are taken by mammals, osprey and eagles (Ref. 1998). Utilized as a food fish or as dog food (Ref. 27547).
Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr, 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 432 p.
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 90363)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: minor commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: public aquariums
CollaboratorsPicturesStamps, CoinsSoundsCiguateraSpeedSwim. typeGill areaOtolithsBrainsVision
Estimates of some properties based on empirical models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01072 (0.00585 - 0.01962), b=2.97 (2.80 - 3.14), based on LWR estimates for species & Subfamily-BS (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 2.5 ±0.3 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (tm=2-10; tm=20).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): High vulnerability (64 of 100) .