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plains minnow

​plains minnow (Hybognathus placitus) Photo © Uland Thomas

Features and Behaviors

The mouth of this species is turned slightly downward, and the rear of the mouth is in front of the eyes. The snout is rounded. The dorsal fin base is in front of the pelvic fin base. The lateral line is straight. There are 16 to 17 pectoral fin rays. An adult is usually between three and five inches long. Four species in this genus (Mississippi slivery minnow Hybognathus nuchalis, eastern silvery minnow Hybognathus regius, western silvery minnow Hybognathus argyritis and plains minnow Hybognathus placitus), all of which are in Illinois, are very similar in appearance and can only be definitely separated into species by looking at a bony projection at the base of the skull or using genetic analysis.

The plains minnow lives in schools in the river channel. It prefers a sandy bottom where there is some current. This species eats dead and live plant materials. Spawning occurs in spring and summer.

Illinois Range


Kingdom: Animalia​
Phylum: Chordata​
Class: Actinopterygii​
Order: Cypriniformes​
Family: Leuciscidae

Illinois Status: common, native