Highfin Carpsucker
  • 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 of head: The lines are indicating distances: eye-preopercle corner, eye-upper gill cleft; the lines are about equal in length.
  • Close-up of mouth: Notice the obtuse angle of the lips with a nipple at the tip; there are no barbels.
  • Close-up of head: Notice that the tip of the lower lip is just barely in advance of the nostrils, and there is no "notch" anterior to the nostrils.
  • The back is steeply arched, body depth is 38-45% of SL, head length is 24-27% of SL, the sides are silvery.
  • Close-up dorsal fin: Notice that the longest dorsal ray is longer than the dorsal fin base; there is no spine and 23-27 rays.
  • Close-up anal fin: Notice that the anal fin is unpigmented; there is no spine and 8-9 rays.
  • Close-up pelvic fin: Notice that the pelvic fin is clear.
  • Close-up head region of a breeder: Notice the numerous tubercles on head and scales.
  • Close-up nape and back of a breeder: Notice the numerous tubercles on the head and the back.
  • Close-up head of a breeder: Notice the numerous tubercles on the head.
  • Head-on view of a breeder: Notice the numerous tubercles on the head.
  • Side view of a yearling: Juveniles are less deep-bodied, and they have larger eyes relative to adults.
  • Underside of head of a yearling: Notice the obtuse angle of the lips with a nipple at the tip; there are no barbels.
  • Alternate side view.
DescriptionSimilar Species
Family
Suckers (Catostomidae)
Body
Mouth and snout: Inferior, no teeth on jaws. No barbels. Body patterning, color, and scales: Solid color. Body overall silvery, grading from olive-brown on back to white or cream on the belly. Fins usually clear. 33-35 cycloid lateral line scales. Body shape and size: Body lateralle compressed and deep; oval in cross section. Typically 300-400 mm (12-16 in) TL; maximum in Wisconsin about 500 mm (20 in).
Fins
Tail, dorsal and other fins: Forked tail. Single dorsal with no spines and 23-27 rays; first few rays elongated. Pelvic fins abdominal. Adipose fin absent. Anal fin with 8-9 rays.
Distinguishing Characteristics
The highfin carpsucker can be distinguished by its lack of a serrated spine at the front of the dorsal and anal fins, by its inferior mouth, its number of anal rays (7-9), number of dorsal rays (22-30 vs 15-19), the number of lateral line scales (33-40), by its lack of barbels, by the ratio of the distance from the eye to the ventro-posterior angle of the pre-opercle to the distance from the eye to dorso-posterior edge of the gill opening, which is about one, the presence of a fontanelle (hole) in the roof of the skull between the eyes in the carpsuckers but not the buffalos, a paper-thin pharyngeal arch, linear in cross-section, and a helical (spiral) pattern of coiling of the intestine. See also similar species information.
Breeding Adults
Males with numerous minute tubercles on head and pectoral and pelvic rays.
Juveniles
Somewhat less deep-bodied with a less sharply arched back and a relatively larger eye.
Hybrids
Quillback X Highfin carpsucker; River carpsucker X Highfin carpsucker, plausible, but unconfirmed from Wisconsin.
Compare Similar Species
Lower Lips
Carpsucker, HighfinForm an abtuse angle (>120°); small knob or nipple at tip; tip about equal with nostrils in side view
Carpsucker, RiverForm an abtuse angle (>120°); small knob or nipple at tip; tip about equal with nostrils in side view
QuillbackForm an abtuse angle (<90°); no knob at tip; tip clearly forward of nostrils in side view
Longest Dorsal Ray
Carpsucker, HighfinLength of ray usually more than the length of the dorsal fin base (but ray sometimes broken)
Carpsucker, RiverLength of ray when depressed about 50-70% the length of the dorsal fin base
QuillbackLength of ray variable (and sometimes broken), ranging from about 70-110% the length of the dorsal fin base
Body Profile
Carpsucker, HighfinSteeply arched back; BD 38-45% of SL; HL 24-27% of SL; short snout, seldom with "notch" anterior to nostrils in lateral view
Carpsucker, RiverArched back, body depth (BD) 32-43% of standard length (SL); head length (HL) 24-29% of SL, short snout, seldom with "notch" anterior to nostrils in lateral view
QuillbackRounded back, BD 32-38% of SL; HL 26-32% of SL; snout relatively long, usually with "notch" anterior to nostrils in lateral view
Similarity Index
Carpsucker, HighfinN/A
Carpsucker, RiverVery similar
QuillbackVery similar
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