• Family: Catostomidae (Suckers)
• Other Names: Redhorse, sucker
• Ohio Status: Species of concern
• Adult Size: Typically 18-26 inches, can reach 32 inches. Usually weighs 3-7 pounds, can reach 12 pounds.
• Typical Foods: Larval insects, snails, small mollusks and other aquatic invertebrates.
The river redhorse has a relatively large head and eyes. The rear edge of the dorsal fin is nearly straight to slightly concave (curves in toward body) and they have a bright red tail. They are found in both the Lake Erie and Ohio River drainage basins. The very similar greater redhorse has a more rounded head, smaller eye, and a slightly convex (outwardly rounded) rear edge to the dorsal fin. Shorthead and smallmouth redhorse have smaller heads, more slender bodies, and obviously concave dorsal fins. Ohio's other three redhorse have slate gray tails.
Habitat and Habits
River redhorse are found in only the largest rivers of the Ohio and Lake Erie drainage systems. They are typically found in deep pools with moderate current over bedrock or gravel substrate. River redhorse are intolerant of pollution and turbid (murky) water and are an indicator of good water quality.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
River redhorse spawn in April and May. They migrate into smaller streams and spawn at night at the top and bottom ends of shallow riffles. Two males will press a single female between them while all three fish vibrate as eggs and sperm are released. They bury their eggs in fine gravel with their tails. No further parental care is given.