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Fathead Minnow Pimephales promelas


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Fathead Minnow
credit: duane Raver

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Family: Cyprinidae, Carps and Minnows view all from this family

Description The fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas), is a species of temperate freshwater fish belonging to the Pimephales genus of the cyprinid family. The natural geographic range extends throughout much of North America, from central Canada south along the Rockies to Texas, and east to Virginia and the Northeastern United States. This minnow has also been introduced to many other areas via bait bucket releases. Its golden, or xanthic strain, known as the rosy-red minnow, is a very common feeder fish sold in the United States. This fish is best known for producing Schreckstoff.

The fathead minnow in its wild form is generally dull olive-grey in appearance, with a dusky stripe extending along the back and side, and a lighter belly. There is a dusky blotch midway on the dorsal fin. Breeding males acquire a large, grey fleshy growth on the nape, as well as approximately 16 white breeding tubercles on the snout.

Dimensions Up to 4" (10 cm).

Habitat Rivers & streams, Lakes & ponds.

Range Plains, Great Lakes, New England, Southeast, Texas, Eastern Canada, Western Canada, Alaska.