broad, flat area just before the dorsal fin; pale olive-green above, silvery-bluish sides and silvery beneath; faint spot appears in first few rays of dorsal fin; dark lateral band from snout to tail
most common in upper stream reaches, rare in Missouri River drainages and the Mississippi River
algae, insect larvae, diatoms
excellent bait fish for crappie, perch, white bass, and other panfishes. Adapt well to aquaria displays
Bluntnose minnow are one of the most abundant and widely distributed cyprinids in the interior streams. They are found most commonly in upper stream reaches. This ubiquitous minnow is rare to absent in collections from the Missouri River drainage and the Mississippi River. They appear occasional to common in fish collections from natural and man-made lakes. Their range also extends into a large portion of the Mississippi River and Great Lakes basins in the central United States.
Bluntnose minnows have a terete body form and are almost cylindrical in cross section with a broad flat area just before the dorsal fin. Like all members of this family they have a shortened, closely attached first ray in the dorsal fin and smaller, crowded scales in advance of the dorsal fin. A prominent, dark, lateral band extends from the snout to the tail, which ends in an intense dark spot that distinguishes them from fathead and bullhead minnows. Body color is pale olive-green above, with silvery-bluish sides and silvery beneath. A faint spot appears in the first few rays of the dorsal fin. The mouth is almost horizontal, being slightly overhung by the snout and has no barbel. Broad, flat pharyngeal teeth, with long cutting edges, are arranged in a 4-4 pattern. The complete lateral line contains 41 to 44 scales, and the intestine is about twice the length of the body. Dorsal and pelvic fins have 8 rays, while the anal fin contains 7 rays, and the pectoral fins contain 15 or 16 rays. Males develop a blackened head with large tubercles arranged in 3 rows and a bluish body during spawning.
The bluntnosed minnow is essentially a small creek species that is intolerant of high turbidity. Their diet consists of algae, insect larvae, diatoms, entomostracans, and rarely fish eggs or small fish. Spawning occurs from spring to late summer. The adhesive eggs are deposited in masses on the underside of floating logs, flat rocks, or other objects. Eggs develop into fry after about 8 to 12 days depending upon water temperature. Adults reach a length of about 4 inches.
Bluntnose minnows are excellent bait fish and are used extensively in fishing for crappie, perch, white bass, and other panfishes. They also adapt very well to aquarium displays.