SCIENTIFIC NAME: Pimephales notatus
CHARACTERISTICS: The bluntnose minnow is a stout species with a blunt, rounded snout and rounded fins. Body form is robust and round or squarish in cross section. The back is broad and flat, with small scales between the head and the dorsal fin. The dark lateral band extends from the eye to the caudal fin and is about the same width all along the entire back and sides to the venter. Breeding males are dark, have around 16 tubercles developed on the snout, and have milky white fins.
ADULT SIZE: 1.6 to 3.5 in (40 to 90 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: Pimephales notatus is common in the Mississippi and Mobile basins to the Great Lakes and in Atlantic slope drainages from Virginia north. Although extremely widespread and often abundant below the Fall Line, this is one of a few widespread freshwater species in Alabama that is absent in streams draining the Fall Line Hills. Only scattered collections have been recorded above the Fall Line Hills. Only scattered collections have been recorded above the Fall Line in the Black Warrior drainage, and none from the Tallapoosa or Coosa. We have also collected bluntnose minnows from a few smaller, northern tributaries to the Conecuh River drainage. This species is common throughout the Tennessee River drainage in Alabama.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: Occurring in a variety of habitats, from small, upland streams to large rivers and impoundments, the bluntnose minnow generally prefers soft substrates of sand, mud, and silt, sometimes with aquatic vegetation. This bottom-dwelling species feeds on aquatic insects, algae, and crustaceans. The spawning season is long, extending from May to August. Breeding males excavate small cavities under flat, submerged objects. Over time, several females spawn with a single male, placing their eggs on the roof of the cavity. A male typically remains at a nest throughout the spawning season. The spawning behavior of Pimephales is the most intricate reported for the family Cyprinidae. Especially noteworthy is the observation that the inverted female apparently releases one egg at a time and rolls it with lateral undulations down her side, eventually pushing the egg with her tail and attaching the egg to the ceiling of the nest (Page and Ceas, 1989). This behavior is unique to Pimephales, distinguishing this genus as an advanced group of minnows.
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: The bluntnose minnow was described by Rafinesque in 1820.
Pimephales means fat head.
Notatus means marked or spotted.
The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.
Note: In Alabama, it is illegal to stock or move any fish, mussel, snail or crayfish to any public water without a permit.
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