Sauger
  • 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.
  • There are 4-6 intermediate-length pyloric caecae.
  • Close-up dorsal fin: The first dorsal fin is spiny and is spotted along the membranes.
  • The sides are blotched, the mouth is large with teeth, the 1st dorsal lobe is spotted and there is a white edge on the lower tail.
  • Close-up tail: Notice the white edge on the lowermost ray.
  • Close-up mouth: The mouth is large extending to the middle of the eye and has prominent teeth; the cheek is well-scaled.
  • Side view of a yearling: Juveniles are similar to adults, but less deep-bodied and robust.
  • Alternative view of the head.
  • Alternative side view of an adult.
  • Alternative side view of an adult.
  • Side view of a walleye X sauger hybrid: Notice the intermediate appearance.
  • Close-up tail of a walleye X sauger hybrid: Notice the intermediate appearance.
  • Close-up of the spiny dorsal fin of a walleye X sauger hybrid: Notice the intermediate appearance.
  • Side view of a walleye X sauger hybrid: Notice the intermediate appearance.
  • Close-up tail of a walleye X sauger hybrid: Notice the intermediate appearance.
  • Close-up of the spiny dorsal finl of a walleye X sauger hybrid: Notice the intermediate appearance.
DescriptionSimilar Species
Family
Perches (Percidae)
Body
Mouth and snout: Mouth terminal, large and oblique, with obvious canine teeth on the anterior part of the upper and lower jaws. No barbels. Body patterning, color, and scales: Back and sides brown or gray with moderately dark to very dark mottling and irregular blotches; belly cream or white. First dorsal fin with rows of dark spots on membranes. Second dorsal and caudal spotted; lower most ray lower caudal lobe sometimes with a thin white edge. Pectoral fin with blotch of dark pigment at base and often light speckling on rest of fin. Pelvic and anal fins white or clear or with light speckling. 79-87 ctenoid lateral scales. Body shape and size: Body fusiform and elongated; round to oval in cross section. Typically 300-450 mm (12-18 in) TL; maximum about 600 mm (24 in).
Fins
Tail, dorsal and other fins: Forked tail. Dorsal fin with 2 lobes, distinctly separate, the first with 10-13 (usually 12) spines and the second with 1-2 spines and 17-19 (usually 18) rays. Pelvic fins thoracic. Adipose fin absent. Anal fin with 2 spines and 11-13 rays.
Distinguishing Characteristics
Young-of-year sauger can be most easily distinguished by their large (extend to middle of eye) terminal mouths with obvious canine teeth. Older sauger are substantially larger than the largest darters. See also similar species information.
Breeding Adults
Similar to non-breeders.
Juveniles
Similar to adults, but slightly less robust and often more elongated (photos).
Hybrids
Walleye X sauger (photos).
Compare Similar Species
Pigment on 1st Dorsal Fin
SaugerSpotted, last few membranes not black
WalleyeDusky to blotched, no spots, last few membranes black
Lower Caudal Lobe
SaugerNo white patch, but may be a thin white edge on lower-most ray
WalleyeOften white patch at rear edge
Pyloric caeca
Sauger4-6, do not extend beyond posterior end of stomach
Walleye3, extending beyond posterior end of stomach
Dorsal Fin Rays
Sauger17-19
Walleye18-21
Cheek
SaugerWell scaled
WalleyeSparsely scaled or naked
Similarity Index
SaugerN/A
WalleyeVery similar
Comments
SaugerThe young-of-year saugers is moderately similar to the crystal darter and the Percina darters, but can by easily distinguished by their large terminal mouth with obvious canine teeth. Older saugers are substantially larger than the largest darters.
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