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Lake Chubsucker

Lake Chubsucker
Erimyzon sucetta

New York Status: Threatened


Lake Chubsucker

The lake chubsucker is a medium-sized fish, averaging 8-10 inches in length. It has a stubby body, large scales, a suctorial mouth, a short and blunt snout and small eyes located towards the top of the head. The fish has 10-12 fin rays in the dorsal (back) fin. The anal (bottom rear) fin has a straight edge which on a breeding male becomes bilobed. Young chubsuckers have a prominent dark stripe along each side which becomes a series of vertical bars in adult fish. Adult lake chubsuckers are dark olive-green on top, silvery-gold on the sides, and green-yellow on the belly.

Life History

A spring spawner, the female lays between 3,000 to 20,000 eggs, depending on her size. The eggs are scattered over vegetation or gravel cleaned by the males. The nonadhesive eggs hatch in six to seven days.

Lake chubsuckers feed on copepods, cladocerans, and chironomid (aquatic insects) larvae found on the bottom.

Distribution and Habitat

The lake chubsucker is found in natural lakes and slow-water sections of large streams. These waters are usually clear, vegetated and have sandy or fine graveled bottoms. The fish is found in New York, southern Ontario (Canada), Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Texas, Florida, and north along the Atlantic coast. In New York, the chubsucker has been found in embayments along the southern shore of Lake Ontario and the Lake Erie drainage basin.

Population Status

Little information is available about the chubsucker's population decline. It is know that the species prefers quiet, clear, and well-vegetated waters and is intolerant of turbid and silty waters.

Unfortunately, none have been caught in New York State in over 60 years.

Management/Research Needs

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will search for lake chubsuckers in its historic waters.

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