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White Sucker Catostomus commersoni


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White Sucker
credit: brian Gratwicke/CCSA

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Family: Catostomidae, Suckers view all from this family

Description The White Sucker (Catostomus commersonii) is a bottom-feeding freshwater fish inhabiting North America from Labrador in the north to Georgia and New Mexico in the south. It is a long, round-bodied fish with a dark green, grey, copper, brown, or black back and sides and a light underbelly. When fullgrown, it is between 12 and 20 inches long and weighs between 2 and 6 lb. It will eat almost anything it can, but most commonly small invertebrates and plant matter. Larger predatory fish species such as walleye, trout, bass, northern pike, catfish, muskellunge, and sauger prey on the white sucker.

A very common fish, the white sucker is usually not fished for food, though some consider it good to eat. It is most often used as bait; the young are sold as sucker minnows. When it is eaten by humans, it is usually processed and sold under the name of mullet. Other common names for the white sucker include bay fish, brook sucker, common sucker, and mullet. The white sucker is often confused with the longnose sucker, Catostomus catostomus, since they look very similar.

The white sucker's predators are numerous and include pike, muskies, pickerel, burbot, osprey; taken during spawning by otters, bears and other mammals; young also eaten by bass, trout, mink, and kingfishers.

Dimensions Up to 24" (61 cm).

Habitat Rivers & streams, Lakes & ponds.

Range Plains, Great Lakes, New England, Mid-Atlantic, Rocky Mountains, Southeast, Southwest, Eastern Canada, Western Canada, Alaska.