Blue sucker

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Blue sucker
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Suborder: Cobitoidea
Family: Catostomidae
Genus: Cycleptus
Species: C. elongatus
Binomial name
Cycleptus elongatus
Lesueur, 1817

The blue sucker (Cycleptus elongatus), also known as blackhorse, Missouri sucker and gourdseed sucker, is a freshwater species of fish in the sucker family.


Color is variable, from light steel-gray to almost jet black in the spring. The fish is streamlined, with a pointed head and a subterminal mouth. The small head suggests in profile that of a horse. Early records indicate that this fish once reached weights of over 40 pounds (18 kg), although 15 pounds (6.8 kg) is quite rare today. Average lengths are 2 feet (0.61 m), the maximum being 0.93 metres (3 ft 1 in).


Huge migrations of these fast, powerful fish once migrated throughout the Mississippi River basin, and spring harvests of blue sucker were a staple food for early pioneers. Blue suckers are very rare today, thought to be due to the segmentation of habitat caused by the thousands of dams which have been built in the last century. Blues frequent the thalweg of large river systems, in heavy current.


Blue suckers eat aquatic insect larvae, crustaceans, plant materials and algae.