Suckers as a group have large thick lips, soft-rayed fins with no spines, and lack scales on the head. The spotted sucker illustrated here has a long body, protrusible (extendable) lips, and 8-12 rows of distinct dark spots. Breeding males may have two dark bands running along the sides, separated by a pinkish or reddish band along the midline of the sides.
Suckers can be found throughout the state, but most species are concentrated in northwest Florida. Spotted suckers are found in northern Florida streams, from the Perdido River to the Suwannee River.
These fish use their small sucker mouth to “vacuum” small insects or other invertebrates from lake or stream bottoms. Suckers play an important role in the ecology of many Florida waters, often providing food for game fish.
State Record: FWC does not track state records for suckers.
Fishing Tips and Facts: Fishing methods include portable impoundments and nets. Special regulations apply. Although bony, when properly prepared suckers are edible and are harvested by both commercial fishermen and recreational anglers.
Image Credit: © Duane Raver, Jr.