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Erimyzon Genus of Chubsucker

The Chubsucker (Erimyzon) genus is a group of freshwater sucker fish, part of the Catostomidae family. Closely related to the Cyprinidae family. Native to North America. Currently there are four recognized species in the genus.

Biology of Erimyzon

Inhabit vegetated rocky riffle areas, runs, lakes, wetlands, ponds, swamps, floodplain lakes, sloughs, and pools of clear water. As well as sluggish streams, spring pools, backwater areas and head water rivulets.

Prefers warmer waters ranging from 82°F to 93°F. Often remaining in still water with low turbidity and high levels of vegetative cover. Prefer shallow freshwater over sand or silt substrates mixed with organic debris.

Adults prefer solitary and may be found near substrates of slowly flowing streams. While being territorial of gravel substrates in shallow water.

Subspecies of the Chubsucker

Creek Chubsucker

Creek Chubsucker

A small to medium fish average from four and a half to seven inches in length and weighing in under a pound. Juvenile fish have a dark lateral stripe down their sides, which lack in the parent fish.

A small minnow with a short dorsal fin, no lateral line and the rear edge of the lower lips forming a “V” shape. While the upper sides appear green to brown the scales have dark edges creating dark blotches along their sides. The lower sides and belly seem yellow to white.

While the dorsal and tail fins appear green or grey the lower fins are yellow or white. Occur in freshwater tributaries of the Atlantic slope streams from Maine to Altamaha Drainage system in Georgia.

The Gulf slope streams east of Escambia River Drainage in Alabama, west to the San Jacinto system in Texas and in the Mississippi Valley of Louisiana. As well as Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky.

As well as the Great Lakes Drainage in the southern tributaries of Lake Michigan, Erie, and Ontario. Currently two disjunct populations occur. One in eastern Coastal Plain streams and one in the mid-western streams east of the Central Plains.

However, feel free to click and read more on our site about the Creek Chubsucker.

Lake Chubsucker

A medium sized minnow averaging 10 inches in length. Generally, have dark olive-green bodies, silvery to gold sides and a green to yellow belly. While having a stubby body, large scales, a suctorial mouth, thick lips, and a short, blunt snout.

Has small eyes located towards the top of their head. Generally, the dorsal fin consists of 10 – 12 fin rays. The anal fin has a straight edge. Further, the juvenile fish have a prominent dark stripe along their sides which changes into a series of vertical bars as they mature.

Generally, found in the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Basin as far north as Ontario in Canada extending south to the Gulf of Mexico. West to Wisconsin and Texas and east to South Virginia and South Florida. Further occur in Missouri, Arkansas, Ohio, and Tennessee.

However, feel free to click and read more on our site about Lake Chubsucker.

Lake Chubsucker

Sharpfin Chubsucker

Sharpfin Chubsucker mature fish with juvenile fish below

The Sharpfin Chubsucker fish has brown back and cream belly. While juveniles have a light-yellow lateral band above the dark lateral stripe which extends from the snout to the caudal fin base.

However, as fish matures the lateral line disappears. While having many scales edged in black, give a diamond-shaped appearance. May reach from 9.8 to 16 inches in length. Generally, the fins are dusky with the rays outlined in black.

Further have a pointed dorsal fin which becomes rounded on large individuals. Their anal fin is pointed and when depressed the longest rays extend beyond the caudal fin base.

Generally, occur from the Gulf Slope to the Yellow River system in Alabama and Florida, and the Amite River system in Mississippi and Louisiana.

However, feel free to click and read more on our site about Sharpfin Chubsucker.

Western Creek Chubsucker

The Western Chubsucker (Erimyzon claviformis) is similar to the Creek Chubsucker. Among the smallest of the sucker species reaching only 4 – 6 inches in length.

While their backs and upper sides appear olive-green to brown their bellies appear yellow to cream. They have dark scale margins giving a cross-hatched pattern to their backs and upper sides.

Further their sides have distinct or indistinct dark blotches seemingly forming vertical or horizontal bands. While having translucent pale orange or grey fins.

Further, have a subterminal mouth, and fleshy lips covered in taste buds. Further, they have 9 to 11, but normally 10 dorsal rays. While the dorsal fin is rounded. Further has 5 to 8 blotches along their sides.

While their lateral line consists of 37 – 45 scales. Meanwhile breeding males have hooked anal fins and three tubercles on each side of the snouts during spawning.

A distinguishing point between the Lake Chubsucker and the Western Creek Chubsucker is the longitudinal scale rows. While the Lake Chubsucker has 36 to 38, the Western Creek Chubsucker has between 39 and 41.

Occurs in the Lower Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basin from Southern Michigan and southeast Wisconsin south to the Gulf, and Gulf Slope Drainages from Apalachicola River Drainage in Georgia to San Jacinto River in Texas.

Western Creek Chubsucker

Management and Conservation

Considered a species of least concern by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). Furthermore, the species is neither listed as threatened or endangered. Therefore, receives little conservation concerns.

However, some research has been done to determine its usefulness in improving the growth of largemouth bass, a popular sporting fish.

Meanwhile, the Chubsucker faces habitat disturbance due to siltation caused by agriculture, coal ash spills and range decline due to habitat destruction and modification, changing levels of turbidity in water, changing sedimentation levels, altering nutrient levels, coal combustion, pollution and toxins, introduction of exotic and invasive species.


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