sucker, common name for members of the family Catostomidae, freshwater fish related to the minnow and catfish families and like them possessing an intricate set of bones forming a highly sensitive hearing apparatus. Suckers range in size from 6 in. (15 cm) to 3 ft (90 cm). They have fleshy, sucking mouths and are sluggish bottom feeders, eating small aquatic animals and plants. The white, or common, sucker, found throughout North America, is an important food fish with firm, sweet (though bony) flesh. Buffalo fish are large suckers whose coarse, bony, nutritious flesh is also much used as food in the central states. The bigmouth buffalo fish reaches 4 ft (120 cm) in length and 65 lb (29 kg) in weight, the smallmouth buffalo fish sometimes attains 20 lb (9 kg), and the black, or mongrel, buffalo fish is intermediate in size. Other suckers are known as red horses, carp suckers, and freshwater mullets. Suckers are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Osteichthyes, order Mormyriformes, family Catostomidae.

Sucker (Catostomus)

Any of 80–100 species (family Catostomidae) of freshwater food fishes found mostly in North America. Suckers can be distinguished from minnows by the sucking mouth, with protrusible lips, on the underside of the head. Generally sluggish, they suck up detritus, invertebrates, and plants from the bottom of lakes and slow streams. The species vary greatly in size. The lake chubsucker (Erimyzon sucetta) grows to 10 in. (25 cm) long; the bigmouth buffalo fish (Ictiobus cyprinellus) grows to 35 in. (90 cm) and over 70 lbs (32 kg).

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Sucker may refer to:

  • Lollipop or sucker, a type of confection
  • Basal shoot or sucker, a shoot or cane that grows from the base of a tree or shrub
  • Sucker (fish) or Catostomidae, a family of fish of the order Cypriniformes
  • Suckers, cup-shaped parts of tentacles or arms of some animals

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