Chinese Sucker, Chinese Hi Fin Shark

The Chinese Sucker (Myxocyprinus asiaticus), also called Chinese Hi Fin Shark, is the only non-North American sucker and is native to China. The prettiest of the small suckers lives in fast, shallow water with rocky bottoms. This species has some of the most unusual body shapes in freshwater fishes. Its enlarged nuchal areas might function as adaptation for living in fast-flowing, large rivers, or anti-predator defense. In addition to unusual body shape, it has a single dorsal fin and a scale-less head.

Chinese Sucker, Chinese Hi Fin Shark
Chinese Sucker Myxocyprinus asiaticus

Unfortunately, its beauty fades with age. Adults are brown or gray; they attain the lengths of over 2 feet and lose their juvenile shape with its high extension of the dorsal fin. Cultured suckers may get infected with rhabdovirus associated with a lethal hemorrhagic disease.

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Threats to suckers (like those affecting all North American freshwater fishes) include dams, diverting waters for agricultural purposes, pollution, habitat degradation, and introduced species.


  1. Freshwater Fishes of North America: Volume 1: Petromyzontidae to Catostomidae. edited by Melvin L. Warren, Jr., Brooks M. Burr
  2. American Aquarium Fishes. Robert Jay Goldstein, Rodney W. Harper, Richard Edwards

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