SCIENTIFIC NAME: Carpiodes cyprinus

CHARACTERISTICS: The quillback lacks a nipple-shaped projection on the front of the lower lip, and the rear edge of the mouth fails to reach the anterior edge of the eye. The lateral line has 36 to 41 scales. Dorsal fin rays number 25 to 33, and the anterior rays, when depressed, extend to only one-half of the dorsal fin. Anal fin rays number seven or eight. Body color is generally silver to bronze, and all fins are essentially clear. See Lesueur (1817b) for original description.

 ADULT SIZE: 12 to 20 in (300 to 508 mm)

DISTRIBUTION: Previous records from the Tennessee River drainage in Alabama were limited to samples collected in 1938 by the Tennessee Valley Authority (Platania and Jenkins, 1978; Boschung, 1992). We collected this species at four locations in the drainage in 1993. Royal D. Suttkus (1995, personal communication) reports that quillback populations in the Conecuh, Choctawhatchee, and Chattahoochee river drainages in southeastern Alabama and northwestern Florida may represent a new species.

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: Quillbacks occur in large streams, rivers, and reservoirs. They are uncommon in the Tennessee and Chattahoochee river drainages and are widespread in the Mobile basin (but are not as abundant as highfin carpsuckers). We found the greatest densities of this species in the Conecuh and Choctawhatchee rivers in southeastern Alabama and in the tailwaters of most locks and dams in the Mobile basin. Collections of gravid, tuberculate adults and small young-of-the-year indicate that spawning occurs in April and May throughout Alabama. Growth is rapid, with one-year-old individuals reaching 4 or 5 inches in length.

ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Lesueur described the quillback in 1817.

Carpiodes means carplike.
Cyprinus is a generic name of common carp, which this species resembles.

The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.