SCIENTIFIC NAME: Moxostoma poecilurum

CHARACTERISTICS: The blacktail redhorse is characterized by a prominent black or dusky stripe on the lower lobe of its tricolored caudal fin. The upper lobe and upper part of the lower lobe are bright orange, and the lower rays beneath the dark stripe are white. The dorsal fin had 12 or 13 soft rays and a black and straight or slightly convex free margin. The lips are plicate, the two halves of the lower lip joining at an obtuse angle. Lateral line scales number 41 to 44. The back is olive to light green, and the venter is white. A dark crescent occurs at each scale base, and dusky longitudinal stripes occur along the sides. Particularly during the spring spawning season, most fins are moderate to bright rust or orange. See Jordan (1877b) for original description.

ADULT SIZE: 10 to 16 in (254 to 406 mm)

DISTRIBUTION: The blacktail redhorse is distributed throughout the Mobile basin, where it is the most commonly encountered Moxostoma species, and in coastal systems from the Escatawpa to the Choctawhatchee drainage. It is replaced in the Chattahoochee drainage by the “grayfin redhorse.” We have never collected the blacktail redhorse in the Tennessee River drainage, but future sampling may reveal that it has entered there via the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway.

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: Blacktail redhorse are widespread and often abundant in rivers, reservoirs, small to large streams, swamps, and the Mobile Delta. They occur in swift to standing water over sand, silt, rock, or gravel substrates and around aquatic vegetation. Spawning occurs in March and April. Adults frequently enter small streams to spawn and leave shortly thereafter. We collected substantial numbers of brightly colored, gravid adult blacktail redhorses below Millers Ferry Lock and Dam on the Alabama River in late March and early April 1995. Tailwaters below this and other locks and dams provide good spawning habitat. Kilken (1972) reports that pond-raised fingerlings feed on small crustaceans and aquatic insect larvae but also consume pelleted food.

ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Jordan described the blacktail redhorse in 1877.

Moxostoma means mouth to suck.
Poecilurum means varicolored tail.

The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.