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black redhorse

black redhorse (Moxostoma duquesnei) Photo © Uland Thomas

Features and Behaviors


The black redhorse grows to a length of about nine to 15 inches. It has a green-brown back and upper sides, silvery lower sides and a white belly. The fins along the lower side of the fish are clear or have an orange tint. The dorsal and tail fins are green or gray. The breeding male’s sides are pink with long, black stripes. He also has tubercles (bumps) on all fins except the dorsal. The mouth is small, and the rear edge of the lower lip is U-shaped to straight. The snout is rounded. Teeth are present in the throat.


The black redhorse may be found in the northern one-half of Illinois and the southern tip of the state, although it is uncommon everywhere except in Hardin and Pope counties. It lives in clean creeks and rivers with permanent water flow and a gravel or rock bottom. Spawning occurs in deep, clear riffles over gravel or rubble. This fish feeds in schools near the bottom in late evening. The young fish (smaller than three inches) eats algae and small crustaceans. The adult feeds on immature aquatic insects and other small invertebrates. The black redhorse may live for eight to 10 years.

Illinois Range


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Cypriniformes
Family: Catostomidae

Illinois Status: common, native