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One of the most beautiful fish in Iowa. Its body is elongate and almost cylindrical. There are two distinguishing characteristics which set it apart from the other minnows. The scales are minute, almost requiring magnification to be seen. The coloration is unique. A cream-colored lateral band is layered between dark bands on the sides. The top dark band starts at the edge of the opercle and turns into a series of spots on the caudal peduncle. The lower band circles the snout and ends in the basicaudal rays of the tail. There are black dots along the back before the dorsal fin, and the mid-dorsal stripe may also look like a series of dots. Males have carmine splotches on the chest, chin, belly, and on the base of the dorsal fin, and their fins are bright yellow. Females vary from plain to washed with pink. The snout is blunt with a terminal mouth, in which the upper jaw slightly extends past the lower jaw. Presence of a barbel is unusual, but at least one population has been found which has barbels on each side of the jaw. There are 65 to 90 scales along the incomplete lateral line. The pharyngeal formula is 5, 5, and the teeth are slender with slight hooks, and occasionally a pattern of 5, 4 may be present. The dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins have 8 rays, and the pectorals have 14 or 15. The intestine is long, with two coils and a loop with a black peritoneum.
Throughout the upper portions of the Winnebago, Shellrock, Wapsipinicon, Turkey, Maquoketa, and Misssissippi Rivers in northeast Iowa. Scattered populations in northwest, central, and east-central streams.
plant material and bottom slime
These minnows are difficult to keep in an aquarium, but the effort is rewarded by the dazzling color display.
The Southern Redbelly Dace lives in the clean, cool headwaters of small streams. It is a secretive fish seeking escape cover under overhanging banks or other structures. Permanent spring flows provide micro-habitat for the scattered populations away from northeast Iowa.
Spawning of southern redbelly dace occurs from May through July over silt-free, gravel bottomed riffles. The nests of other stream minnows may be used for egg deposition. Spawning takes place in schools with 2 males usually accompanying a female. Egg production varies from 200 to over 6,000 eggs. Adults may reach 3-inches long.
The Southern Redbelly Dace was originally listed in the genus Chrosomus, but it is currently in the genus Phoxinus, which links the native genus to the old world genus of the same name.
Recent stream sampling information is available from Iowa DNR's biological monitoring and assessment program.