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Spotted Sucker Spotted suckers are a widely distributed species, ranging throughout the central and southeastern United States. Primarily a river fish, they occur in moderate-sized creeks and rivers. Warm clear water with little current and an abundance of submerged aquatic vegetation over soft bottom is the preferred habitat. It is intolerant of turbid water, industrial, and agricultural pollutants. These fish average 12 to 18 inches in length.
A heavy bodied fish, Spotted Suckers are easily distinguished from other suckers by the rows of black spots along the sides of the body. Colors are dark olive along the back shading to cream/white on the bottom. The mouth is subterminal. The lower lip forms an acute V-shape.
Breeding males exhibit two dark stripes separated by a pinkish band. White bumps on the snout, about the head and anal fin are heavy. Spawning occurs from late February into April when water temperature is 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Adult suckers enter small stream tributaries of rivers and reservoirs to spawn. Spawning takes place over riffles of gravel and cobble in moderate to swift current. A female is attended by several males. Semi-adhesive eggs are broadcast at random and hatch in 7 to 12 days. Sexual maturity occurs by the third year.
Food of spotted sucker includes insect larvae, crustaceans and plant materials that include algae.