Iowa DNR
River & Stream Biological Monitoring
Fish and Benthic Macroinvertebrate Surveys
Physical Habitat Assessments

Quillback Carpsucker Carpiodes cyprinus

Catostomidae (Suckers)
Trophic Class
Is Exotic to Iowa?
Is Lithophilous Spawner?
Is Hybrid?
State Listing Status
Not Listed
Assessment Program Statistics

This species was found at 222 bioassessment sites, 1 rapid fish bioassessment site, 81 fisheries assessment sites, and 1 fisheries presence-only assessment site. In total, it was collected at 302 distinct sites, or 23.3% of the 1295 total sites monitored by the bioassessment program. It is the 26th most commonly collected species.

The Quillback Carpsucker was collected in 337 bioassessment sampling sessions and 175 fisheries assessment sessions. It was present in 1 rapid bioassessment session and 1 presence-only session.

The biological assessment program has collected a total of 5,692 individual Quillback Carpsucker specimens, ranking it the #39 most collected fish.

Species Characteristics

Brown back with silvery reflections, sides tinged golden yellow with dark-edged scales, white belly, and large scales. It is often misidentified as other carpsuckers. The most notable feature is the lack of a nipple-like projection at the middle of the lower lip. It can be distinguished from the other carpsuckers by the number of scales along the lateral line; it has 37 to 41 scales. Adults are commonly 12- to 17-inches long and weigh 1- to 3-pounds.

Species Distribution Map