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Catostomidae is the sucker family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 of the order
Order (biology)
In scientific classification used in biology, the order is# a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and species, with order fitting in between class and family...

The Cypriniformes are an order of ray-finned fish, including the carps, minnows, loaches and relatives. This order contains 5-6 families, over 320 genera, and more than 3,250 species, with new species being described every few months or so, and new genera being recognized regularly...

. There are 80 species in this family of freshwater fishes
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

. Catostomidae are found in North America, east central China, and eastern Siberia. They are not usually fished recreationally; they are not highly prized in North America for their flesh although they are a fairly popular target with spear fisherman
Spearfishing is an ancient method of fishing that has been used throughout the world for millennia. Early civilizations were familiar with the custom of spearing fish from rivers and streams using sharpened sticks....


Description and biology

Their mouth is located on the underside of the head (subterminal), with thick, fleshy lips. Most species are less than 60 centimetres (2 ft) in length but the largest species can reach 100 centimetres (3.3 ft). They are distinguished from related fish by having a long pharyngeal
The human pharynx is the part of the throat situated immediately posterior to the mouth and nasal cavity, and anterior to the esophagus and larynx. The human pharynx is conventionally divided into three sections: the nasopharynx , the oropharynx , and the laryngopharynx...

 bone in the throat, containing a single row of teeth.

Catostomids are most often found in rivers but can be found in any freshwater environment. Their food ranges from detritus and bottom dwelling organisms (such as crustaceans and worms), to surface insects and small fishes.

Fossil record

Catostomidae have been uncovered and dated to the Middle Eocene in Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

 and Utah
Utah is a state in the Western United States. It was the 45th state to join the Union, on January 4, 1896. Approximately 80% of Utah's 2,763,885 people live along the Wasatch Front, centering on Salt Lake City. This leaves vast expanses of the state nearly uninhabited, making the population the...

. An enormous gap (36.2 million years) in the fossil record occurs from the Late Eocene to Early Pleistocene
Early Pleistocene
Calabrian is a subdivision of the Pleistocene Epoch of the Geologic time scale. ~1.8 Ma.—781,000 years ago ± 5,000 years, a period of ~.The end of the stage is defined by the last magnetic pole reversal and plunge in to an ice age and global drying possibly colder and drier than the late Miocene ...

As food

They can be taken by many fishing methods including angling
Angling is a method of fishing by means of an "angle" . The hook is usually attached to a fishing line and the line is often attached to a fishing rod. Fishing rods are usually fitted with a fishing reel that functions as a mechanism for storing, retrieving and paying out the line. The hook itself...

 and gigging
Gigging is the practice of hunting fish or small game with a gig or similar multi-pronged spear. Commonly harvested wildlife include freshwater suckers, saltwater flounder, and small game, such as frogs. A gig can refer to any long pole which has been tipped with a multi-pronged spear. The gig pole...

. Often species such as Catostomus commersonii
White Sucker
The White Sucker is a bottom-feeding freshwater fish inhabiting North America from Labrador in the north to Georgia and New Mexico in the south. It is a long, round-bodied fish with a dark green, grey, copper, brown, or black back and sides and a light underbelly. When fullgrown, it is between 12...

 and Hypentelium nigricans
Northern hogsucker
The northern hogsucker, Hypentelium nigricans, belongs to the Catostomidae family of sucker fish. The fish inhabits the rivers of the Mississippi basin, found from Oklahoma and Alabama northward to Minnesota. It prefers clear, fast streams, where it can forage through pebbles for bottom life,...

 are preferred for eating. They can be canned, smoked or fried, however often small incisions must be made in the flesh (termed "scoring") before frying to allow small internal bones to be palatable.


Family Catostomidae
  • Subfamily Catostominae
    • Tribe Catostomini
      • Genus Catostomus
        Catostomus is a genus of fish belonging to the family Catostomidae, commonly known as suckers.- Species :FishBase lists 27 species:* Catostomus ardens D. S. Jordan & C. H. Gilbert, 1881...

      • Genus Chasmistes
        Chasmistes is a genus of ray-finned fish in the Catostomidae family.It contains the following species:* Chasmistes brevirostris Cope, 1879 * Chasmistes cujus Cope, 1883...

      • Genus Deltistes
        Deltistes is a genus of ray-finned fish in the Catostomidae family. It contains the modern Deltistes luxatus found in Oregon and the extinct D. owyhee Miller, 1967 and D. ellipticus Miller, 1967 both from the Glenns Ferry Formation of Idaho...

      • Genus Xyrauchen
    • Tribe Erimyzoninae
      • Genus Erimyzon
        Erimyzon is a genus of suckers native to North America. There are currently three recognized species in this genus.-Species:* Erimyzon oblongus * Erimyzon sucetta...

      • Genus Minytrema
    • Tribe Thoburniinae
      • Genus Hypentelium
        Hypentelium is a genus of suckers found in eastern North America. There are three recognized species in this genus.-Species:* Hypentelium etowanum...

      • Genus Thoburnia
        Thoburnia is a genus of suckers found in the eastern United States. There are currently three recognized species in this genus.-Species:* Thoburnia atripinnis...

    • Tribe Moxostomatini
      • Genus Moxostoma
        Moxostoma is a genus of ray-finned fish in the Catostomidae family.- Species :* Moxostoma albidum * Moxostoma anisurum * Moxostoma ariommum C. R...

  • Subfamily Cycleptinae
    • Genus Cycleptus
      Cycleptus is a genus of suckers containing two North American species.-Species:* Cycleptus elongatus * Cycleptus meridionalis Burr & Mayden, 1999...

  • Subfamily Ictiobinae
    • Genus †Amyzon
      Amyzon (genus)
      Amyzon is an extinct genus belonging to the sucker family Catostomidae first described in 1872 by E. D. Cope. There are 4 valid species in this genus of freshwater fishes...

    • Genus Carpiodes
      Carpiodes is a genus of suckers that are found in North America. There are currently three species in this genus.-Species:* Carpiodes carpio * Carpiodes cyprinus...

    • Genus Ictiobus
      Ictiobus, also known as Buffalo fish, is a genus of freshwater fish common in the United States. It is sometimes mistaken for carp because of its flat face and large, silver scales running along the body, though it lacks the whisker-like mouth appendages common to carp...

  • Subfamily Myxocyprininae
    • Genus Myxocyprinus
  • other extinct genera
    • Genus †Jianghanichthys
      "Jianghanichthys" , was a fish that lived in the Pliocene epoch . Fossils of Jianghanichthys have been found in Hubei, China. It is also known as Osteohilus or Chan Han Fish.There are still disagreements as to the name and age of this species...

    • Genus †Plesiomyxocyprinus
    • Genus †Vasnetzovia