- Side view adult.
- Side view adult.
- Side view adult.
- Top view adult.
- Bottom view adult.
- Head-on view adult.
- Close-up flank.
- Close-up head.
- Close-up mouth and snout.
- Close-up tail.
- Close-up dorsal fin.
- Close-up anal fin.
- Close-up pectoral fin.
- Close-up pelvic fin.
- Close-up doral fin: There are 11-12 dorsal rays with a falcate or straight margin.
- Notice the spots at the base of scales, there are 42-46 lateral line scales.
- Close-up mouth/snout: The relatively thin, fleshy, and plicate lower lips form an obtuse angle.
- Close-up flank: Notice the spots at the base of scales; the lateral line scales are not pored.
- Top view: Notice that the spots are lined up in horizontal rows.
- Side view of a breeder: Breeders develop tubercles on their heads and anal fin rays.
- Close-up head: Breeders develop tubercles on their heads.
- Close-up anal fin: Breeders develop tubercles on their anal fins.
- Side view of a young-of-year: YOY are similar to adults, but the spots on the side are more faint.
- Alternative side view of an adult.
Mouth and snout: Inferior, no teeth on jaws. No barbels. Body patterning, color, and scales: Spotted (but see breeding adults). Body usually light olive or tan with a dark squarish spot at the anterior or each scale on the flank. Spots arranged in horizontal rows. Spots fade away on whitish belly. Fins dusky, especially on outer edge of dorsal fin, or white (especially paired fins). 42-46 (usually 47-51) cycloid lateral line scales; 0-38 of these pored. Body shape and size: Body fusiform and elongate; round in cross section. Typically 300-450 mm (12-18 in) TL; maximum about 500 mm (20 in).
Tail, dorsal and other fins: Forked tail. Single dorsal with no spines and 11-12 rays. Pelvic fins abdominal. Adipose fin absent. Anal fin with 7 rays.
The spotted sucker is unique in having an absent or incomplete lateral line and a relatively thin lower lip. It can also be distinguished by its number of dorsal rays (11-12). See also similar species information.
Males with tubercles on snout, head, and anal fin (photos). Some males reported to have two black lateral stripes separate by a pinkish stripe.
Similar to adults, but spots may be less distinct (photo).
|Redhorse, Black||12-14 rays, margin concave or falcate, rarely straight|
|Redhorse, Golden||10-15 rays, usually 13, margin concave or falcate, rarely straight|
|Redhorse, Greater||11-15 rays, usually 13-14, margin slightly concave to slightly convex|
|Redhorse, River||13-15 rays, margin straight or slightly concave|
|Redhorse, Shorthead||11-15 rays, usually 12-14, margin falcate|
|Redhorse, Silver||14-17 rays, usually 15, margin usually straight or slightly convex|
|Sucker, Blue||28-33 rays, anterior rays elongated|
|Sucker, Longnose||9-11 rays, marging straight to slightly concave|
|Sucker, Northern Hog||9-12 rays, usually 11-12, margin falcate|
|Sucker, Spotted||11-12 rays, margin straight to falcate|
|Sucker, White||10-13 rays, margin slightly concave to slightly convex|
|Redhorse, Black||Obtuse angle or straight margin, plicate|
|Redhorse, Golden||Obtuse angle, plicate|
|Redhorse, Greater||Obtuse angle, plicate|
|Redhorse, River||Obtuse angle or straight margin, plicate|
|Redhorse, Shorthead||Straight margin, plicate with a few papillae|
|Redhorse, Silver||Acute or right angle, papillose|
|Sucker, Blue||Acute angle, papillose|
|Sucker, Longnose||Acute angle, papillose|
|Sucker, Northern Hog||Acute angle, papillose|
|Sucker, Spotted||Obtuse angle, relatively thin, plicate|
|Sucker, White||Acute angle, papillose|
|Redhorse, Black||Solid color|
|Redhorse, Golden||Solid color|
|Redhorse, Greater||Solid color or with faint spots at anterior base scales in some fish|
|Redhorse, River||Solid color or with faint spots at anterior base scales in some fish|
|Redhorse, Shorthead||Solid color or with faint spots at anterior base scales in some fish|
|Redhorse, Silver||Solid color|
|Sucker, Blue||Solid color, darkly pigmented|
|Sucker, Longnose||Solid color or faint blotches, breeders with lateral stripe|
|Sucker, Northern Hog||Dark mottling and large dark irregular blotches|
|Sucker, Spotted||Dark spots at anterior base of scales; lateral stripes in some breeders|
|Sucker, White||Solid color or faint blotches, breeders with lateral stripe|
Lateral Line Scales
|Redhorse, Black||43-51, usually 44-47, all pored|
|Redhorse, Golden||37-45, usually 40-42, all pored|
|Redhorse, Greater||41-45, usually 42-44, all pored|
|Redhorse, River||41-46, usually 42-44, all pored|
|Redhorse, Shorthead||39-46, usually 42-44, all pored|
|Redhorse, Silver||38-46, usually 41-42, all pored|
|Sucker, Blue||53-58, all pored|
|Sucker, Longnose||91-115, usually >95, all pored|
|Sucker, Northern Hog||46-54, usually 47-51, all pored|
|Sucker, Spotted||42-46, 0-38 pored|
|Sucker, White||55-85, usually 60-70, all pored|
|Redhorse, Black||Pelvic rays 8-11 but almost always one or both with 10; caudal peduncle depth >59% of caudal peduncle length; tail slate-colored in life|
|Redhorse, Golden||Pelvic rays 9; caudal peduncle depth usually >63% of caudal peduncle length; tail slate-colored in life|
|Redhorse, Greater||Head rounded with a rounded snout, not overhanging lips ventrally; tail orange or red in life; scales around caudal peduncle 15-16|
|Redhorse, River||Head rounded and bulky with a blunt or slightly rounded snout, overhanging lips ventrally in adults; tail orange or red in life; scales around caudal peduncle 12-13|
|Redhorse, Shorthead||Head tapered to a pointed or slightly blunt snout, not overhanging lips ventrally; tail orange or red in life; scales around caudal peduncle 12-13|
|Redhorse, Silver||Tail slate-colored in life|
|Sucker, Blue||Darkly pigmented fins|
|Sucker, Longnose||Snout distinctly extends past upper lip|
|Sucker, Northern Hog||Top of head with concavity between eyes; other species have this area flat or convex|
|Sucker, Spotted||Spotes lined up in horizontal rows; limited to area above anal fin in small juveniles|
|Sucker, White||Snout barely extends past upper lip|
|Redhorse, Black||Moderately similar|
|Redhorse, Golden||Moderately similar|
|Redhorse, Greater||Moderately similar|
|Redhorse, River||Moderately similar|
|Redhorse, Shorthead||Moderately similar|
|Redhorse, Silver||Moderately similar|
|Sucker, Blue||Moderately similar|
|Sucker, Longnose||Moderately similar|
|Sucker, Northern Hog||Moderately similar|
|Sucker, White||Moderately similar|