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pugnose minnow

pugnose minnow (Opsopoeodus emiliae) Photo © Uland Thomas

Features and Behaviors


The pugnose minnow grows to an average length of two to two and one-half inches. A  cross-hatched pattern is visible on its back and upper sides. The small mouth opens toward the surface of the water and may have a small barbel on one or both sides. The male has two dark areas on the dorsal fin. The back is green-yellow. The sides are silver with a dark stripe. The lower half of the anal and pelvic fins is bright white on a breeding male. The breeding male also has a dark silver-blue body, and the dorsal fin is black with a white central area.


The pugnose minnow may be found statewide in Illinois. This minnow lives in lakes, swamps and sluggish streams. It spawns in early summer. The male establishes a territory into which the female deposits eggs. Hatching takes place in four to six days with the male guarding the eggs during that period. This fish eats small insects and other aquatic invertebrates.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native