Golden Redhorse
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult.
  • Top view adult.
  • Bottom view adult.
  • Head-on view adult.
  • Close-up flank.
  • Close-up head.
  • Close-up mouth and snout.
  • Close-up tail.
  • Close-up dorsal fin.
  • Close-up anal fin.
  • Close-up pectoral fin.
  • Close-up pelvic fin.
  • The tail is slate-colored in life; the caudal peduncle depth is more than 63% of caudal peduncle length.
  • Close-up pelvic fin: There are 9 pelvic rays.
  • Close-up flank: The flank shows a solid color without faint spots at the base of scales.
  • The sides show a solid color and 37-45 (usually 40-42) lateral line scales.
  • Close-up dorsal fin: There are 10-15 rays (usually 13), and the fin has a concave margin.
  • Close-up mouth/snout: The lower lips form an obtuse angle. The lips are fleshy and plicate.
  • Side view of a breeder: Breeders develop tubercles on their heads and anal and tail fins.
  • Close-up caudal region of a breeder: Breeders develop tubercles on their anal and tail fins.
  • Close-up head of a breeder: Breeders develop tubercles on their heads.
  • Close-up caudal region: Breeders develop tubercles on their anal and tail fins.
  • Side view of a breeder: Breeders develop tubercles on their heads and anal and tail fins.
  • Close-up head: Breeders develop tubercles on their heads.
  • Side view of a juvenile: Juveniles are similar to adults.
  • Alternative side view.
  • Alternative view of mouth and snout.
  • Side view of golden redhorse (top) and black redhorse (bottom): Notice that the golden redhorse has a thicker caudal peduncle and larger scales than the black redhorse.
DescriptionSimilar Species
Family
Suckers (Catostomidae)
Body
Mouth and snout: Inferior, no teeth on jaws. No barbels. Body patterning, color, and scales: Solid color (but see Breeding adults). Body usually silvery, bronze, golden, or copper, grading from olive shades on the back to white on the belly. Tail and dorsal fin slate colored; other fins clear or yellowish or reddish (mainly in breeders) with limited dark pigment. 37-45 (usually 40-42) cycloid lateral line scales. Body shape and size: Body fusiform or slightly dorsal-ventrally flattened and elongate; approximately round in cross section (flattened on ventral surface). Typically 350-450 mm (14-18 in) TL; maximum about 600 mm (24 in).
Fins
Tail, dorsal and other fins: Forked tail. Single dorsal with no spines and 10-15 (usually 13) rays. Pelvic fins abdominal. Adipose fin absent. Anal fin with 7 rays.
Distinguishing Characteristics
The golden redhorse is unique in having the combination of a slate-colored tail in life, a plicate lower lip with an obtuse angle, 37-45 (usually 40-42) lateral-line scales, 9 pelvic rays, and a relatively thick caudal peduncle (>63% of SL). It can also be distinguished by its number of dorsal rays (10-15) and its lower lip that is broad and fleshy throughout. See also similar species information.
Breeding Adults
Males with large tubercles on snout and anal and caudal fins and minute tubercles elsewhere on the head, scales and pectoral rays (photos). Actively breeding males may have a thick dark lateral stripe, but this fades quickly upon capture or when breeding behavior ceases.
Juveniles
Similar to adults.
Hybrids
None confirmed from Wisconsin.
Compare Similar Species
Dorsal Fin
Redhorse, Black12-14 rays, margin concave or falcate, rarely straight
Redhorse, Golden10-15 rays, usually 13, margin concave or falcate, rarely straight
Redhorse, Greater11-15 rays, usually 13-14, margin slightly concave to slightly convex
Redhorse, River13-15 rays, margin straight or slightly concave
Redhorse, Shorthead11-15 rays, usually 12-14, margin falcate
Redhorse, Silver14-17 rays, usually 15, margin usually straight or slightly convex
Sucker, Blue28-33 rays, anterior rays elongated
Sucker, Longnose9-11 rays, marging straight to slightly concave
Sucker, Northern Hog9-12 rays, usually 11-12, margin falcate
Sucker, Spotted11-12 rays, margin straight to falcate
Sucker, White10-13 rays, margin slightly concave to slightly convex
Lower Lip
Redhorse, BlackObtuse angle or straight margin, plicate
Redhorse, GoldenObtuse angle, plicate
Redhorse, GreaterObtuse angle, plicate
Redhorse, RiverObtuse angle or straight margin, plicate
Redhorse, ShortheadStraight margin, plicate with a few papillae
Redhorse, SilverAcute or right angle, papillose
Sucker, BlueAcute angle, papillose
Sucker, LongnoseAcute angle, papillose
Sucker, Northern HogAcute angle, papillose
Sucker, SpottedObtuse angle, relatively thin, plicate
Sucker, WhiteAcute angle, papillose
Body Pattern
Redhorse, BlackSolid color
Redhorse, GoldenSolid color
Redhorse, GreaterSolid color or with faint spots at anterior base scales in some fish
Redhorse, RiverSolid color or with faint spots at anterior base scales in some fish
Redhorse, ShortheadSolid color or with faint spots at anterior base scales in some fish
Redhorse, SilverSolid color
Sucker, BlueSolid color, darkly pigmented
Sucker, LongnoseSolid color or faint blotches, breeders with lateral stripe
Sucker, Northern HogDark mottling and large dark irregular blotches
Sucker, SpottedDark spots at anterior base of scales; lateral stripes in some breeders
Sucker, WhiteSolid color or faint blotches, breeders with lateral stripe
Lateral Line Scales
Redhorse, Black43-51, usually 44-47, all pored
Redhorse, Golden37-45, usually 40-42, all pored
Redhorse, Greater41-45, usually 42-44, all pored
Redhorse, River41-46, usually 42-44, all pored
Redhorse, Shorthead39-46, usually 42-44, all pored
Redhorse, Silver38-46, usually 41-42, all pored
Sucker, Blue53-58, all pored
Sucker, Longnose91-115, usually >95, all pored
Sucker, Northern Hog46-54, usually 47-51, all pored
Sucker, Spotted42-46, 0-38 pored
Sucker, White55-85, usually 60-70, all pored
Other Characteristics
Redhorse, BlackPelvic rays 8-11 but almost always one or both with 10; caudal peduncle depth >59% of caudal peduncle length; tail slate-colored in life
Redhorse, GoldenPelvic rays 9; caudal peduncle depth usually >63% of caudal peduncle length; tail slate-colored in life
Redhorse, GreaterHead rounded with a rounded snout, not overhanging lips ventrally; tail orange or red in life; scales around caudal peduncle 15-16
Redhorse, RiverHead rounded and bulky with a blunt or slightly rounded snout, overhanging lips ventrally in adults; tail orange or red in life; scales around caudal peduncle 12-13
Redhorse, ShortheadHead tapered to a pointed or slightly blunt snout, not overhanging lips ventrally; tail orange or red in life; scales around caudal peduncle 12-13
Redhorse, SilverTail slate-colored in life
Sucker, BlueDarkly pigmented fins
Sucker, LongnoseSnout distinctly extends past upper lip
Sucker, Northern HogTop of head with concavity between eyes; other species have this area flat or convex
Sucker, SpottedSpotes lined up in horizontal rows; limited to area above anal fin in small juveniles
Sucker, WhiteSnout barely extends past upper lip
Similarity Index
Redhorse, BlackVery similar
Redhorse, GoldenN/A
Redhorse, GreaterVery similar
Redhorse, RiverVery similar
Redhorse, ShortheadVery similar
Redhorse, SilverVery similar
Sucker, BlueModerately similar
Sucker, LongnoseModerately similar
Sucker, Northern HogModerately similar
Sucker, SpottedModerately similar
Sucker, WhiteModerately similar
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