Ozark minnow

Ozark minnow


The body is dusky above with dull, silvery sides and silvery-white belly. A dark lateral band starts on the tip of the snout and ends in a faint spot at the end of the caudal peduncle. The terminal mouth is slightly oblique and has no barbel. Prominent eyes look large in proportion to the head. The complete lateral line has 36 to 38 scales. Dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins have 8 rays, while the pectoral fins vary from 13 to 15 rays. Short, hooked pharyngeal teeth are arranged in a 4-4 formula. The long intestine is coiled, unlike most species, and the peritoneum is black.


Ozark minnow Distribution

Confined to a region of Iowa that lies north and east of the Cedar River drainage, where it is rare to occasional in fish collections


Plants and debris

State Record

State Records are not documented for non-game species.

Expert Tip



The current range of this minnow is limited within two centers in the Midwest: a northern region in southeastern Minnesota, northeastern Iowa, southern Wisconsin, and northwestern Illinois and a southern region in southern Missouri, northern Arkansas, and northern Oklahoma. This cyprinid is decreasing as suitable habitat is being destroyed throughout its continental range.

Ozark Minnows live in small, lime-rock creeks in Iowa. Schools are usually found by bank seeps, where ground water enters the stream. They have strict ecological needs, being intolerant of turbidity, which limits their Iowa distribution and threatens their existence throughout their range.  Adults reach about 3-inches long. Breeding males develop yellowish-orange color on the underside of the body and fins. Spawning occurs in May and June.

Ozark Minnows were first listed in the genus Dionda, but were recently aligned, with two other species, into a sub-genus Hydrophlox within the genus Notropis.

Recent stream sampling information is available from Iowa DNR's biological monitoring and assessment program.

Present in these Iowa water bodies: