Recovery and protection of the Robust Redhorse

Judging from the photos I’ve seen, and from the gorgeous tuberculate specimen depicted by Joseph Tommeleri (see the factsheet pdf mentioned below), the robust redhorse is an awesome fish. They get big, they live a long time, and they have come back from extinction.

For more on robust redhorse see The Robust Redhorse Conservation Committee website ( and download their 2 page fact sheet.

This video gives a very brief account of the efforts of the state of Georgia, Georgia Power and agencies of the US government to protect the robust redhorse (Moxostoma robustum) since its rediscovery in the 1980s (after over a century of assumed extinction).


The RRCC site has many good photos, tons of information and a very extensive list of publications about the robust redhorse, including many that can be downloaded as pdfs.

It is unfortunately rare to hear of an extinct species being rediscovered and then helped to survive. I hope the work will continue and the fish will survive both because of that work and in spite of the human propensity to do stupid, short-sighted things with unforeseen consequences. It would be the work of a few minutes in some back room to cancel funding for a project like this. After all, when times are tough and everybody wants something, who really cares about some fish no one has ever heard of and no one spends millions of dollars to fish for?

On the other hand, I’m surprised to find myself—against my better judgment—feeling optimistic. I think the robust redhorse has a chance to survive and maybe even thrive.

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