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Sucker

Family: Catostomidae

The species of suckers found in New York are typically large fish. They are distinguished by the presence of fleshy lips and subterminal mouths. Most species are bottom-feeding insectivores. Suckers are essentially a North American family of fish. However, one species is native to drainages in eastern Asia and the range of a North American species extends into rivers in Siberia. Ecologically and zoogeographically, the family can be divided into two categories. One group, composed of species in the genera Moxostoma, Ictiobus and Carpiodes, are typical of large rivers and lakes. In New York, they are found in Lakes Erie and Ontario, the larger interior lakes and river main channels and their major tributaries. The second group includes the genera Catostomus, Hypentelium and Erimyzon. They inhabit a wide variety of habitats from headwater brooks and ponds to large rivers and lakes. There are 13 species found in New York that are native. In recent years, three species and a hybrid form have become established in Lake Erie and have immigrated into New York waters. Their status remains uncertain.

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