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river carpsucker

river carpsucker (Carpiodes carpio) Photo © Uland Thomas

Features and Behaviors


The river carpsucker may attain a length of 12 to 15 inches. It has a deep body, the depth measurement going into its length measurement about two and one-half times. There is a  nipple-shaped protrusion at the edge of the lower lip. The snout is short, and the upper jaw extends behind the front of the eye. The river carpsucker is green to bronze on its back. The silver sides have dark-edged scales. The lower body is white or yellow while the paired fins are white or pink. The breeding male has tubercles on his head, the front part of the back and the paired fins.  The river carpsucker has a life span of about 10 years.


The river carpsucker may be found statewide in Illinois except in the northeastern one-fourth. This fish lives in turbid areas in creeks, rivers and lakes. The river carpsucker swims in large schools. It spawns in spring to early summer. This fish feeds from the bottom, eating algae, protozoans, small crustaceans, insects, worms, mollusks and plants.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native