• Family: Catostomidae (Suckers)
• Other Names: Redhorse, sucker
• Ohio Status: Threatened
• Adult Size: Typically 18-24 inches, can reach 30 inches. Usually weigh 2-5 pounds, can reach 10 pounds.
• Typical Foods: Larval insects, snails, small mollusks and other aquatic invertebrates.
The greater redhorse has a relatively large rounded head and small eyes. The rear edge of the dorsal fin is nearly straight to slightly convex (outwardly rounded) and they have a bright red tail. They are only found in the Lake Erie basin in Ohio. The very similar river redhorse has a less rounded head, larger eye, and a slightly concave (curves in toward body) 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
The greater redhorse is found in medium to large rivers in the Lake Erie drainage system of Ohio. They are only found in limited portions of the Sandusky, Maumee, and Grand River systems. They are typically found in pools with a clean sand or gravel substrate. They are very intolerant of pollution and turbid (murky) water and are an indicator of good water quality.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
Greater redhorse spawn in April and May. They migrate into rather small 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.