Northern Hog Sucker
• Family: Catostomidae (Suckers)
• Other Names: None
• Ohio Status: No special status
• Adult Size: Typically 10-15 inches, can reach 24 inches. Usually weighs 1 pound or less, can reach 4 pounds.
• Typical Foods: Northern hog suckers use their mouth to overturn rocks and stir up the sediment as they seek aquatic insects and other invertebrates.
Northern hog suckers have a bony head that tapers abruptly into a slender body. They have a very distinctive large sucker mouth. Their eyes are positioned on top of their head with a depression between them. Northern hog suckers are a mottled reddish brown with four to six dark saddles or bands across their back.
Habitat and Habits
Northern hog suckers are found in relatively clear streams with clean substrates free of silt. They prefer the fast flowing riffles during most of the year but are found in pools during the colder months. Like most suckers, they often migrate long distances' to spawn in smaller streams in spring. Northern hog suckers are native throughout Ohio and are a common species.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
Hog suckers spawn in April or early May. A female and often several males stir up the bottom sediments to form a slight depression where the eggs are deposited. Spawning can last for an extended period with the female laying eggs at irregular intervals. Young are often found at the edge of pools over a sandy substrate.