River Carpsuckers are fairly common throughout the Mississippi basin and other western gulf drainages to Mexico. They are widely distributed in warm prairie streams, rivers, and reservoirs. Preferring large, silty off-colored, slow moving waters, adults are seldom observed in clear water. Carpsuckers gather in large schools, foraging near the bottom in deeper sections of rivers and impoundments. These fish can exceed twenty-four inches and approach 10 pounds in weight. Few fish live over ten years.
Stout bodied, the back of the River Carpsucker is slightly arched sporting a long dorsal fin that much longer in the front that the back. Scales are large, as are their eyes. The mouth is sub-terminal with a nipple-like projection in the middle of the lower lip. Coloration is brown-olive on the upper body, silverish scales along the side that fade to a white underside. Lower fins are white.
Spawning occurs late spring, early summer on most waters when the temperature is 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Spawning occurs in large fish congregations. The eggs are randomly deposited over sand or gravel bottoms. No parental care is given. Eggs hatch in one to two weeks. No parental protection is provided. Adults become sexually mature in two to three years.
River Carpsuckers are suction and filter feeders, browsing on algae, organic detritus, protozoan, small crustaceans, aquatic insects, aquatic worms and mollusks.
River Carpsucker in Texas
These suckers range statewide throughout Texas. The following waters have documented populations, Red River (from the mouth upstream to and including the Kiamichi River), Sabine Lake, Galveston Bay , Brazos River, Colorado River, San Antonio Bay, and Nueces River.