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southern redbelly dace

southern redbelly dance (Chrosomus erythrogaster) Photo © Uland Thomas

Features and Behaviors


The average life span of a southern redbelly dace is two years. Its average length is one and one-half to three inches. This fish has a brown-green back, silver-yellow sides and a yellow, red or white belly. There are two dark stripes along its sides and a black spot on its tail. The male may have bright red on the belly, lower head and base of the dorsal fin. Teeth are present in the throat. The scales are very small and the lateral line is incomplete.


The southern redbelly dace lives in rocky creeks that have permanent water flow and a gravel bottom with no silt. This fish lives in schools that are often associated with the stoneroller and creek chub. It is usually found near the bottom of its water body. The southern redbelly dace reaches maturity at an age of one year. Spawning occurs May through July. The female deposits several thousand eggs that stick to gravel in the water. The southern redbelly dace eats plants, mud, algae and plankton.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native