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highfin carpsucker

highfin carpsucker (Carpiodes velifer) Photo © Uland Thomas

Features and Behaviors

The first dorsal ray is long and reaches to or beyond the back of the dorsal fin base. An adult may grow to 19 and one-half inches in length, but the average length is nine to 10 inches. There is a small, pointed projection at the front of the lower lip. The pelvic fin has nine to 10 rays, and the anal fin has eight to nine rays. The back is brown or gray, and the sides are silvery. The scales have dark edges. The pelvic fins are white to orange, and all fins on the lower body are light-colored. The belly is white. The fish has a two-chambered gas bladder. The lateral line is complete.

The highfin carpsucker lives in creeks and rivers statewide. It is not tolerant of turbidity or siltation. It feeds on small aquatic invertebrates that it finds on the bottom of its water body. Spawning occurs in spring and early summer. It is sometimes seen swimming with its back sticking out of the water.

Illinois Range


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Catostomidae

Illinois Status: common, native