Distribution in the area:
Ledyard Lake, Salt Lake,
Pimephales, from the Greek,
promelas, from the Greek, "before black",
perhaps a reference to the darkened head of the original
Common name from the swollen, black head of the breeding
Other common names include: Blackhead Minnow, Tuffy
Phylum Chordata, animals with a spinal chord
Subphylum Vertebrata, animals with a backbone
Superclass Osteichthyes, bony fishes
Class Actinopterygii, ray-finned and spiny rayed fishes
Order Cypriniformes, minnows and suckers
Family Cyprinidae, carps and minnows
Genus Pimephales, the bluntnose minnows
A common Minnesota minnow
maximum length of about 3"
adult males grow larger than females.
dark olive above
coppery tinge behind head and along sides
dusky band or blotch in front and rear rays of dorsal
light dusky stripe along the midside from head to the
base of the tail fin The lateral band is faint in specimens
from turbid waters and prominent in specimens from clear
Typical males are light silvery behind the opercle to
the pectoral fins; then a dark bar extends to the insertion
of the dorsal fin followed by a light bar to about mid-way
along the dorsal fin. Breeding males assume a very dark
color about the head and may exhibit dark vertical bands
on the body.
stout, cylindrical, moderately
back broad and flat in front of dorsal fin
incomplete lateral line of 42-48 scales, not extending
from the head to the base of the tail
shortened and closely attached first ray in the dorsal
fin and smaller, crowded scales in advance of the dorsal
dorsal and pelvic fins of 8 rays
anal fin of 7 rays
pectoral fins of 15/16 rays
mouth small, terminal, and oblique
without a barbel; not overhung by the snout as others
in this genus.
spawning males develop swollen, black head with breeding
tubercles appearing in three rows on the snout.
slender, slightly hooked pharyngeal teeth in a 4-4 pattern
Distinguished from closely related
Bluntnose Minnow (Pimephales notatus) by a dusky band
or blotch in the front and rear rays of the dorsal fin.
Lakes and streams
Often found in large schools around submerged structure
Very tolerant of muddy water, low oxygen, and a wide
range of pH levels.
Primarily zooplankton (microscopic
crustaceans); also microscopic plants, small insects
and larvae, and occasionally fish.
Its small size and abundant reproduction make it an
excellent forage fish.
One of the best known and most
used of bait minnows. Very hardy.
Rapid rate of reproduction makes it an excellent choice
for stocking where predatory fish are present.
Spawns from early May through
August in water 15-32°C. The adhesive eggs are deposited
on the under surface of floating objects, and the male
guards them. Fecundity is 6,803-10,164 eggs per female.
The eggs hatch in 5 to 6 days.
One-year-old fish range in size from one-half inch to