North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

Roanoke Hogsucker

Scientific Name: Hypentelium roanokense

Classification: Nongame Fish
Abundance: Rare in NC

Species Profile (pdf)

     

The Roanoke hogsucker is similar to the Northern hogsucker but is endemic (found nowhere else in the world) to the Dan River basin.   This sucker can grow up to 6 inches long and uses its unique mouth and body shape to hug rocks in the bottom of the river.

 

Description
The Roanoke hogsucker is a robust sucker with dark saddles on its body.  It has a large square head with protruding lips.  They grow to about three to six inches in length.  The Roanoke hogsucker can be distinguished from the Northern hogsucker by the light horizontal lines on its sides and back.

 

Distribution
Endemic to the Dan River subbasin in Virginia and North Carolina, which is part of the larger Roanoke River basin.

Habitat Preferences
The Roanoke hogsucker prefers fast-flowing, high-gradient streams with a mix of rocky substrates including some sand, often with overhanging ledges or banks.

Life History
Males mature between one and two years, females between two and three.  Females live longer (four to five years to males’ three to four) and spawn in the spring.  These cryptic fish depend on good water quality to survive, as they feed on a diversity of aquatic insects and some leafy detritus.  Details of this fish’s life history are not yet known.

Protected under the state Endangered Species Act.  No Roanoke hogsuckers can be collected or killed without a permit from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.

The Aquatic Wildlife Diversity Program surveys the Dan River basin for this species along with other rare fauna in this basin.