Family:Catostomidae (suckers) in the order Cypriniformes (carps, minnows and loaches)
A smaller-bodied sucker with large scales. Short dorsal fin. Lower lips broken into parallel folds, and rear margin of lower lips forming V-shaped angle.
Size:Total length: 9 to 15 inches; maximum about 17 inches.
Habitat and conservation:Occurs in pools and riffles of moderately clear permanent streams with moderate siltation, moderate current and gravel or rocky bottoms. Most commonly gigged sucker in Missouri.
Foods:Forages on the bottoms of pools for various invertebrates, such as larval midges, mayflies and caddisflies.
Distribution in Missouri:Ozark and northeast Missouri streams.
Life cycle:Individuals can live for 11 years or more.
Human connections:Much of the gigging and snagging harvest of redhorse suckers in Ozark streams is of this species (also called "yellow sucker") and its relative the black redhorse ("white sucker"). Also caught on hook and line. Scored and deep-fried, the Y bones disappear; the firm, sweet flesh is delicious.
Ecosystem connections:We often don't think about the interconnections between aquatic food chains and terrestrial ones, but when bottom-feeding redhorses limit ("check") the populations of aquatic larval midges, mayflies and caddisflies, they influence how many of these insects live to become flying, terrestrial adults.