Becker, George C. / Fishes of Wisconsin
Sucker family - catostomidae, pp. 607-691 ff. PDF (39.5 MB)
Sucker Family- Catostomidae Nineteen species of suckers in 8 genera are known from Wisconsin. The suckers are a compact group of 12 living genera and about 60 spe- cies, essentially North American. In the United States and Canada, 59 species are listed in 11 genera (Robins et al. 1980). Only two representa- tives are found in eastern Asia-an ancient monotypic genus in China (Myxocyprinus), and Catostomus catostomus; the latter represents a recent invasion of a species widespread in northern North America. Fossil remains of suckers have been taken from deposits in British Co- lumbia, Nevada, and Colorado. The earliest reliably dated remains of the family in North America are from the Eocene, and are some 55 million years old (Miller 1959). It is believed that suckers arose in southeastern Asia and soon crossed a Bering land bridge to America, leaving a relict in China. It is generally held that the suckers are ancestral to (or at least more primitive than) the minnows; however, Eaton (1935), while studying the upper jaw mechanism in the bony fishes, concluded that suckers de- scended from minnows. The fact is that suckers are closely related to minnows, and frequently appear confusingly minnowlike. The sucker family is readily distinguished from native minnows by a difference in the distance from the front of the anal fin to the base of the caudal fin. In suckers, this distance is contained more than 2.5 times in the distance from the front of the anal fin to the tip of the snout; in minnows, the anal-caudal distance is contained fewer than 2.5 times in the distance from the anal fin to the snout tip. Old World minnows, such as the carp and the goldfish, resemble suckers in this respect, but may 607
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