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Fragile Legacy

Endangered, Threatened & Rare Animals of South Dakota

Longnose Sucker (Catostomus catostomus)

JPG--species photo species distribution map
Status: State Threatened

Description: This sucker measures up to 18 inches (46 cm) long. It has a ventral sucker mouth and a long pointed snout. Its chin and mouth are often yellow to orange in color. The upper (dorsal) surface is gray or black, and its underside (ventral surface) is cream or white colored. The breeding male has a wide, crimson band on its side that extends onto the snout.

Habitat and Habits: The longnose sucker is found in cool, spring-fed creeks where it feeds on the bottom on algae, crustaceans, snails and insect larvae (caddisflies, mayflies, midges). It spawns in lakes or in shallow-flowing streams over gravel, where fry remain until 1-2 weeks old. Longnose suckers do not sexually mature until 4-9 years of age.

Distribution: The longnose is the most widespread sucker species in North America. It is found in Canada and Alaska; south from western Maryland, north to Minnesota, west and north through northem Colorado and through Washington. South Dakota populations are on the edge of its range and are found in the Belle Fourche River drainage north of the Black Hills.

Conservation Measures: The longnose sucker could be threatened by mining, logging and other activities near streams that would affect water quality and temperature.

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