Catostomus Commersonii

Catostomidae

Cypriniformes

Freshwater Rivers, Lakes, Streams

2 - 8 pounds

12" - 26"

White Sucker

Also Known As: Black Mullet, Black Sucker, Brook Sucker, Common Sucker, June Sucker, Mud Sucker, Mullet  

White Sucker (Catostomus Commersonii) Fish Description

The white sucker is a freshwater fish with a torpedo-like body. Their signature fleshy sucker-like mouth is a distinct feature of this fish as it uses its toothless, papillose lips to slurp sediments and organisms on the floor of rivers and streams.

The white sucker is omnivorous and will consume almost anything such as small organisms (mostly invertebrates), clams, snails, fish eggs, algae, and aquatic plants. 

This cypriniform fish has shades and spots of dark green, olive-brown, and grays with a white underbelly. It has a long, rounded head and is covered by conspicuous scales. All of the white sucker’s fins are wide and can either be murky or clear. It has a broad, mildly forked tail. 

Young white suckers are light brown and possess three very recognizable dark spots on their sides: in the back of the gill plate, the middle of the body, and the anterior of the tail.

 

Interesting Facts 

  • White sucker’s colors are darker and more vivid during the spawning season. During this time, a separate lateral, cream-colored bandage appears in the males which gradually vanishes after spawning.
  • Males can exhibit “head trembling” or moving their heads and fins quickly from one side to the other. This usually occurs during breeding to get a female’s attention and to ward away other males. 

 

Size

After the breeding season and when fully mature, the white sucker can vary dramatically in size and is generally a large fish. They can reach an estimated size of 12 and 20 inches and can weigh anywhere from 2 to 6 pounds. 

 

Habitat & Distribution

The white sucker is a pervasive species and is commonly found in the upper Midwest and Northeast in