Lake Chubsucker

Erimyzon sucetta

SARA Status
No Status
NS
Special Concern
SC
Threatened
TH
Endangered
EN
Extirpated
EX

SARA Status

  • No Status NS
  • Special Concern SC
  • Threatened TH
  • Endangered EN
  • Extirpated EX
COSEWIC Status
Not at Risk
NR
Special Concern
SC
Threatened
TH
Endangered
EN
Extirpated
EX

COSEWIC Status

  • Not at Risk NR
  • Special Concern SC
  • Threatened TH
  • Endangered EN
  • Extirpated EX

Description

The Lake Chubsucker (Erimyzon sucetta) is a member of the Sucker family (Catostomidae) and has the following characteristics:

  • Small in size (usually less than 25 cm long);
  • Robust and deep body with arched back, greatest depth at base of dorsal fin;
  • Blunt snout and small, downward directed, protrusible mouth, typical of suckers;
  • shallowly forked tail;
  • Dark olive green dorsal surface and upper sides, golden to silvery lower sides and green yellow to yellow underside;
  • Scales on upper half of body are dark-edged giving a cross-hatched appearance in adults;
  • Paired fins whitish, dorsal fin and tail olive- coloured in adults; and
  • Small nuptial tubercles on the snout and anal fin in adult males.

Habitat

The Lake Chubsucker is primarily a species of the southeastern United States, but it has two main centres of distribution; the lower coastal plain (Gulf and southeastern Atlantic states), and the southern Great Lakes basin. In Canada, it is known only from the drainages of the Niagara River, and lakes Erie, St. Clair and Huron in southwestern Ontario. This species was not reported in Ontario until 1949, suggesting that it may have always been rare in this area.

Lake Chubsuckers prefer clear, still waters with abundant aquatic plants such as marshes, stagnant bays, floodplain lakes and drainage ditches. Their preferred substrates include gravel, sand and silt mixed with organic debris. Spawning season likely occurs between April and early June in Ontario. Adults move into marshes where females will lay up to 20,000 eggs on submerged vegetation.

Threats

Increased turbidity, siltation and wetland drainage appear to be the greatest causes of habitat loss for this species.

Further Information

The recovery strategy of the Lake Chubsucker was updated in 2010 to include critical habitat. To view the strategy, please go to the SARA Registry.

Lake Chubsucker

Lake Chubsucker (Erimyzon sucetta) (© J. R. Tomelleri)

Illustration © J. R. Tomelleri

Scientific name: Erimyzon sucetta
SARA Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status
: Endangered
Region: Ontario

Lake Chubsucker Distribution: Current and Historical Records

Lake Chubsucker Distribution: Current and Historical Records

Did You Know?

Lake Chubsucker prefers clear, still waters with lots of vegetation. Such habitat is found in backwaters, bayous, drainage ditches, floodplain lakes, marshes, oxbows, sloughs and wetlands. Critical habitats are likely decreasing in size and quality. Causes of the decline are wetland drainage and agriculture-induced siltation.

The Canada National Parks Act protects the Lake Chubsucker where it is found in Point Pelee National Park. Lake Chubsucker is also found in Long Point, Pinery, and Rondeau provincial parks.

Lake Chubsucker (Photo: Konrad Schmidt)

Photo: Konrad Schmidt

Related information