Sicklefin Redhorse

Though it was only recently discovered by biologists, the Sicklefin Redhorse
was a significant source of food for Cherokee Indians. They would construct large
v-shaped weirs in places of swift flowing water that would funnel the fish into a
wooden or wicker basket at an opening at the base of the “v.”

Due to the limited area in which the Sicklfin is found, North Carolina has
classified the species as threatened. But since relatively little is known about it, the
species has yet to be moved onto the Federal Endangered Species List, though it
is currently considered a “candidate for listing.” Biologists are working to gather
more information about the species, such as population, reproductive biology,
habitat and food requirements, and other knowledge necessary to determine proper
management strategies.

The Sicklefin’s name comes from its prominent, sharply curved dorsal fin,
resembling a sickle, and the red tinge to its tail. It can grow up to 26 inches and live
for 20 years. Its diet consists almost entirely of macroinvertibrates, which forces
the species to confine itself to clean, oxygen rich rivers. For this reason, the Sicklefin

faces threats of habitat loss as a result of damming rivers. Deforestation is also
known to decrease dissolved oxygen content in rivers, and there is growing concern
that this may effect macroinvertibrate populations, thereby effecting the Sickle Fin
Redhorse as well.

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