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western silvery minnow

western silvery minnow (Hybognathus argyritis)
Photo © Lance Merry

Features and Behaviors

The western silvery minnow is a robust, pale-olive minnow with a yellow belly, and a dull band along each side. They have small eyes, a sharply pointed dorsal fin, and a small, subterminal mouth. They are very difficult to distinguish from the silvery and plains minnows. They grow up to four inches long. 

Little is known about this species in the Midwest, but they probably share a similar life history to other species in the genus. The western silvery minnow inhabits large, silty rivers and occurs in the Mississippi River below the mouth of the Missouri River, from St. Louis to Cairo. Adults migrate to coves to breed and deposit eggs on soft substrates. Breeding adult males become yellow on their sides and fins.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native