Movements and habitat use of River Redhorse (Moxostoma carinatum) in the Kankakee River, Illinois

Steven E. Butler, David H. Wahl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The River Redhorse (Moxostoma carinatum) is a large riverine catostomid that has experienced substantial declines across much of its historic range. Conservation of this species is hindered by a lack of knowledge about many aspects of its life history. In order to better understand the seasonal movements and habitat associations of this species, adult River Redhorse were captured from the Kankakee River, Illinois, implanted with radiotransmitters, and tracked throughout an annual cycle. Habitat data were recorded at all locations where radio-tagged River Redhorse were located. Eight of ten individuals displayed fidelity to a relatively short length of river (total range ≤ 8.7 km), whereas two individuals exhibited substantially greater movements (total range ≥ 23.1 km). Movement patterns of River Redhorse varied across seasons, with the largest ranges and highest displacements occurring during spring, and the smallest ranges and lowest movement rates occurring during summer. River Redhorse predominately occupied deep runs (>1.5 m) with moderate to swift currents (>0.4 m/s) over gravel, cobble, or boulder substrates. Habitat use differed among seasons, with River Redhorse occupying faster current velocities during winter and spring than during summer and fall, and using deeper water over smaller substrates in winter than during summer. Conservation of River Redhorse populations may depend on watershed-scale conservation practices to safeguard the mosaic of habitats the species associates with and maintaining viable pathways for movement among these habitats across seasons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)736-744
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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