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Esox americanus  Gmelin, 1789

Redfin pickerel
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Esox americanus
Picture by Lyons, J.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Esociformes (Pikes and mudminnows) > Esocidae (Pikes)
Etymology: Esox: From Greek, isox and also related with the Celtic root, eog, ehawc = salmon (Ref. 45335);  americanus: americanus meaning of America (Ref. 10294).

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Freshwater; brackish; demersal; pH range: ? - 10.1; non-migratory.   Subtropical; ? - 26°C (Ref. 39090); 50°N - 26°N

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

North America: Atlantic Slope drainages from St. Lawrence River drainage in Quebec, Canada to southern Florida, USA; Gulf Slope drainages east to Brazos River, Texas, USA; Mississippi River and Great Lakes basins north to Nebraska, Wisconsin, Mississippi in USA and southern Ontario in Canada. Two subspecies were previously recognized: Esox americanus americanus in Atlantic Slope drainages to southern Georgia; and Esox americanus vermiculatus in rest of range.

Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 39.4 cm FL male/unsexed; (Ref. 40637); max. published weight: 1.0 kg (Ref. 40637)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 13-21; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 13 - 18; Vertebrae: 42 - 51. Body robust, long, cylindrical, cross-section almost circular with flattened to slightly concave dorsal surface. Head large, flat, naked on top. Snout short, broad spatulate, dorsal surface between raised orbits and tip of snout slightly convex. Mouth large, horizontal, reaching at least to middle of pupil or suborbital bar. Teeth moderately large, those in front of upper jaw and several along each side of ramus a little enlarged; cheek and opercle fully scaled. Gill rakers are reduced to patches of sharp denticles. Branchiostegal rays: 19-31. Cardioid scales between pelvic fins 6-32, intergrades 0-26; notched scales in a line between dorsal and anal fin origins 7-25, intergrades 1-22. Submandibular pores 3:2 to 6:5, usually 4:4. Pigmentation: Olivaceous to black above; belly pale amber to white, sometimes mottled wit dark; mid-dorsal band from nape to dorsal fin origin inconspicuous and pale. Sides with 20-36 olive to black wavy vertical bars separated by paler extensions of what had been lateral band in young, pale area between adjacent bars narrower. Suborbital and preorbital black bars pronounced, suborbital curved back ventrally, postorbital horizontal; lateral edges of jaws heavily pigmented. Pupil yellow to yellow green, iris gold. Dorsal fin darkly pigmented, others orange to red.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Live in lakes, swamps, and backwaters, and sluggish pools of streams. Usually occur among vegetation in clear water (Ref. 86798). Also found in brush piles, overhanging brush or rocks and boulders in areas lacking vegetation. Rarely occur in rivers (Ref. 4639). In winter, they are found associated with dead leaf litter (Ref. 39089). Juveniles are found in flood pools and rivulets among exposed roots, twigs, leaves, and grass in 7.6-10.2 cm of water (Ref. 39088). Larvae are sometimes found in very shallow water in roadside ditches, also in dead leaf litter (Ref. 39089). Oviparous (Ref. 205).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Spawning takes place in flood plains, grassy banks, sloughs, ditches and overflow ponds in areas of heavy vegetation, sometimes in water less than 30.5 cm deep (Ref. 39088).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr, 2011. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 663p. (Ref. 86798)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 115185)

CITES (Ref. 115941)

Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans


Human uses

Fisheries: of no interest; gamefish: yes; aquarium: public aquariums
FAO(Publication : search) | FishSource |

More information

FAO areas
Food items
Food consumption
Larval dynamics
Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
Stamps, Coins Misc.
Swim. type
Gill area


Special reports

Download XML

Internet sources

Alien/Invasive Species database | Aquatic Commons | BHL | Cloffa | BOLDSystems | Websites from users | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | DiscoverLife | ECOTOX | Faunafri | Fishtrace | GenBank(genome, nucleotide) | GloBI | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | IGFA World Record | MitoFish | Otolith Atlas of Taiwan Fishes | PubMed | Reef Life Survey | SeaLifeBase | Tree of Life | Wikipedia(Go, Search) | World Records Freshwater Fishing | Zoobank | Zoological Record

Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5157   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00479 (0.00250 - 0.00917), b=3.05 (2.89 - 3.21), in cm Total Length, based on LWR estimates for this species & Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  3.7   ±0.56 se; Based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (tmax=8; Fec = 186).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Moderate vulnerability (42 of 100) .