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River Redhorse (Moxostoma Carinatum)

Special Significance of the Species

This species was historically a food source for native people and first European settlers and a species of minor commercial importance near Montréal (Mongeau et al. 1986; Moisan 1998). This fishery no longer exists.

Like all sucker species, the river redhorse plays an important, yet underrated, role as a nutrient cycler in aquatic ecosystems. It transfers energy (i.e. nutrients) from the benthic food web (where it feeds) to the pelagic food web (where it is preyed upon). Piscivorous fishes found in rivers supporting river redhorse include largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), muskellunge (Esox masquinongy), northern pike (E. lucius), smallmouth bass (M. dolomieu) and walleye (Sander vitreus). The river redhorse is also one of few freshwater fishes that feed extensively on molluscs and therefore perform a unique ecological function (Portt et al. 2003). French (1993) suggested that if river redhorse were found in sufficient numbers, they could possibly be used as a means of biological control of zebra mussels where their ranges and habitats overlap.