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brook silverside

brook silverside (Labidesthes sicculus) Photo © Uland Thomas

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The brook silverside averages two and one-half to four inches in length. Its average life span is one and one-half years. The body walls are nearly clear enough to see through. This fish has a forked tail, no lateral line, large eyes and two dorsal fins, the first with spines. The top of its head is flattened, and the mouth is turned upward. The body has a green back, a silver stripe on the side and a white belly.


The brook silverside lives in lakes, ponds, creeks and rivers, usually in clear, warm water with little current. This fish swims near the surface in large schools. If disturbed, it may jump out of the water, gliding through the air for short distances. This fish is active during the day and on bright nights. The brook silverside reaches maturity at an age of one year. It spawns June through August. Eggs are deposited over gravel or submerged plants. Each egg has a sticky string that will attach to the first object it touches as it drifts. Eggs hatch in about eight days. The brook silverside eats insects and zooplankton.

Illinois Range


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Atheriniformes
Family: Atherinopsidae

Illinois Status: common, native