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Contact information
For information on Wisconsin's rare vertebrate animals, contact:
Rich Staffen
Conservation Biologist
For information on Wisconsin's rare invertebrates, contact:
Jay Watson
Conservation Biologist

Black Redhorse (Moxostoma duquesnei)



Black Redhorse (Moxostoma duquesnei), is listed as Endangered in Wisconsin. The only known extant population is in the Wisconsin and Eau Claire Rivers near Wausau. It is found in clear water over gravel, bedrock, and sand where siltation is at a minimum. Spawning occurs in from late-May through early- June.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Black Redhorse (Moxostoma duquesnei). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.

Documented locations of Moxostoma duquesnei in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusEND
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY

Species guidance

Note: a species guidance document is not available at this time. Information below was compiled from publication ER-091.

Identification: Slender body and elongate, snout rounded, overhanging mouth ventrally. Back is dark olive green, sides are golden to brassy, and belly is whitish. Adult size: about 10 inches.

Habitat: Prefer clear, swiftly flowing sections of small to medium sized cool streams and rivers over gravel, bedrock, and sand where siltation is at a minimum.

State Distribution: This species was previously known from only two specimens collected in the Root River and Black Earth Creek, both in southern Wisconsin. It was believed to be extirpated since the last specimen was collected in 1928. However, this species was rediscovered in 1992 in the Wisconsin River at Wausau. A map outlining Pre-1977 and 1997 to Present Distribution is available.

Phenology: Spawning occurs during late April at water temperatures of 56-72 deg. F. Require depths of 0.2-0.6m. In October or November, they move to deeper wintering holes.

Diet: Diet includes: diptera, ephemeroptera, cladocera, copepoda, and nemathelminthes.

Management Guidelines: Maintaining the flows at the run-of-the-river would be helpful, especially during spawning. See summary fish management section.



Black Redhorse

Side view adult.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Black Redhorse

Close-up head.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Black Redhorse

Black redhorse inhabits medium-size to small streams with swift currents and gravel, bedrock, or sand bottoms.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Wildlife Action Plan

Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

Natural community (habitat) associations

The table below lists the natural communities that are associated with Black Redhorse. Only natural communities for which Black Redhorse is "high" (score=3) or "moderate" (score=2) associated are shown. See the key to association scores for complete definitions. Please see the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.

Natural community Score
Warmwater rivers 3

Ecological landscape associations

The table below lists the ecological landscape association scores for Black Redhorse. The scores correspond to the map (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None). For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

This map shows the probability of Black Redhorse occurring in each of Wisconsin's Ecological Landscapes.  Actual scores can be found in the table to the left.

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Landscape-Community combinations of highest ecological priority*

Ecological priorities are the combinations of natural communities and ecological landscapes that provide Wisconsin's best opportunities to conserve important habitats for a given Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The 10 highest scoring combinations are considered ecological priorities and are listed below. More than 10 combinations are listed if multiple combinations tied for 10th place. For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

* Ecological priority score is a relative measure that is not meant for comparison between species. This score does not consider socio-economical factors that may dictate protection and/or management priorities differently than those determined solely by ecological analysis. Further, a low ecological priority score does not imply that management or preservation should not occur on a site if there are important reasons for doing so locally.

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Issues/threats and conservation actions

Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.

Threats/issues and conservations actions for rare animals

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Last revised: Thursday, December 22, 2022