Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: North Carolina
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

North Carolina Project

Sicklefin Redhorse Ontogeny, Recruitment, and Priority Habitats in Regulated Rivers.

September 2011 - June 2017


Participating Agencies

  • Asheville Field Office

The sicklefin redhorse Moxostoma sp. (Catostomidae) is a potamodromous, undescribed and imperiled fish in the southern Appalachian Mountains. It is a candidate for protection under the Endangered Species Act, but little is known of its biology and ecology. Previous research by Kwak and others increased the knowledge of sicklefin redhorse reproductive ecology and behavior, based on adult fish. This research will examine the early life history and ecology of the sicklefin redhorse and its congeners, especially as related to habitat suitability, dams, and invasive predators. Our primary objectives include (1) estimate the reproductive success of the sicklefin redhorse at early life stages in terms of abundance and growth, relative to sympatric congeneric species; (2) describe ontogenetic shifts in sicklefin redhorse habitat use and suitability during early life stages and relative to that of adult fish; (3) determine the effects of introduced fishes on sicklefin redhorse recruitment; and (4) add to the spatial database on important sicklefin redhorse spawning areas. Genetic techniques will be applied to identify larval and juvenile fish. Improved knowledge, particularly of the early life history of the species, will inform and guide critical future decisions in river management and dam relicensing that directly affect the survival of this imperiled fish.