FWC Explains More About Rare Redhorse Fish Found In The Escambia River

January 14, 2019

After we published a story about a rare river redhorse fish being found in the Escambia River, numerous people responded on NorthEscambia.com and our social media with reports of  frequently seeing or catching the fish.

Until the recent discovery, the river redhorse had not been documented in the Escambia River since 1976, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

NorthEscambia.com reached out to the FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute for more information. Here is their response:

The river redhorse is a species that may easily be confused with other commonly found fish – in particular, the spotted sucker and the blacktail redhorse.

The river redhorse is only found in the Escambia River, whereas the spotted sucker occurs in every river in the panhandle and the blacktail redhorse occurs in all drainages in Florida west of the Apalachicola River.

Ways you can tell them apart- a blacktail redhorse has a black strip that occurs in the tail, and the spotted sucker has noticeable spots on its scales.

Researchers captured a river redhorse during a night trawl. In Florida, the river redhorse is listed as a Species of Greatest Conservation Need.

The fish prefers large, clean rivers with sand or gravel bottoms and swift currents. The river redhorse was implanted with an acoustic tag and released. The movement of the fish will be monitored to estimate site occupancy and assess population trend, according to the FWC. The fish was found as freshwater biologists were working on imperiled species trawl survey in the Escambia River.

Pictured top: The rare river redhorse fish documented  in the Escambia River for the first time since 1976. Other fish that look similar are below, courtesy of FWC and the Florida Museum. Each photo is labeled. Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.

Above: Spotted Sucker

Above: Blacktail redhorse

Above: River redhorse


10 Responses to “FWC Explains More About Rare Redhorse Fish Found In The Escambia River”

  1. William 2 on January 16th, 2019 12:03 pm

    I don’t recall any spots or black stripes on their tails, but I will just about swear I’ve caught the red horse sucker many times on the perdido river. The fish I’ve caught have a silver body a red tail with a sucker mouth, no other colors, I’m pretty sure I know of a nursery area for this fish, now I have to check.

  2. John on January 15th, 2019 12:04 pm

    Is this a game fish, or good eating or what?

  3. Jan on January 15th, 2019 7:30 am

    Thanks for the follow up. Interesting!

  4. Ethan on January 14th, 2019 9:47 pm

    Perdido River is full of river red horse suckers I see them all the time so I don’t recall ever seeing spots so this baffles me they say that one species only lives in Escambia river. but they said the same thing about flatheads at one time as well.

  5. Don Neese on January 14th, 2019 7:18 pm

    This really is a great story. I wonder if the FWC would mind another article on the tracking of the fish.
    I would love to know where it travels to.

  6. Bob C. on January 14th, 2019 5:20 pm

    @ Rodney

    ABSOLUTELY Agree, NorthEscambia.com is what True Journalism is all about.
    Plus there is Real Heart in the stories, even the tough ones.

    “the Other Media” of all varieties throws out the bone but never tells us who let the dogs out to fetch it or if it was fetched at all.

    Thank You to William and you are the Best.

  7. Bernie Silcox on January 14th, 2019 5:07 pm

    Use to catch the Red horse sucker on Perdido Rv. North of old wood bridge back 1969-1970…..

  8. Rodney on January 14th, 2019 12:42 pm

    These types of articles are what seperates northescambia.com from other media sources. Facts supported by research and interviewing professionals. No biased journalism based on advertisers or contributors is what is missing from news sources. Thank you to all who spent time on this very informative article.

  9. Mark on January 14th, 2019 8:23 am

    As a kid we caught this fish in the Big Creek in the Wallace community in Alabama.Which this same creek feeds into Big Escambia creek which feeds into Escambia River.

  10. Dredmon Recon on January 14th, 2019 7:17 am

    Very informative.
    Very Cool.

    I love this kinda story.

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