Minnow - Family Cyprinidae, Part I


 BLACKNOSE DACE - Rhinichthys atratulus

blacknose dace fish

Fish Notes

The blacknose dace is tolerant of a wide range of environmental conditions. The dace is so adaptable it is the most common fish collected in Fairfax County. The blacknose dace was found at 85 percent of Fairfax County sampling sites.

Fairfax County Native: Yes

Size: Typically 2 to 3 inches

Diet: Aquatic and terrestrial insects, algae and detritus

map of blacknose dace distrbution


   BLUNTNOSE MINNOW - Pimephales notatus

bluntnose minnow fish

Fish Notes

Bluntnose minnows are named for their short, blunt noses. During breeding season, the bluntnose minnow sports numerous hard bumps on its snout called tubercles. This minnow was found at 23 percent of Fairfax County sampling sites.

Fairfax County Native: Unknown, has spread quickly because of use as a bait species

Size: 3 inches, rarely to 4 inches

Diet: Aquatic insects and other small invertebrates

map of bluntnose minnow distribution


 CENTRAL STONEROLLER - Campostoma anomalum

central stoneroller fish 

Fish Notes

The central stoneroller is perfectly adapted to eat algae. It has a hard jaw ridge adapted to scrape algae off rocks.  To help digest the algae, this fish has the longest intestine compared to its size of any American minnow.  The central stoneroller was found at 19 percent of Fairfax County sampling sites.

Fairfax County Native: Yes

Size: 5 inches, rarely to 7 inches

Diet: Algae and detritus

map of central stoneroller distribution


  COMELY SHINER - Notropis amoenus

comely shiner fish

Fish Notes

The comely shiner is rare in Fairfax County. Due to its small size and rarity, not much is known about this minnow. It was found at one percent of Fairfax County sampling sites.

Fairfax County Native: Yes

Size: 3 inches, rarely larger

Diet: Unknown

map of comely shiner distribution


  COMMON CARP - Cyprinus carpio

common carp fish 

Fish Notes

The common carp is the largest member of the minnow family. The Virginia state fishing record is just over 49 pounds. Because of its large size, it typically inhabits large rivers and lakes. Specimens collected in Fairfax County are probably individuals pushed out of the lakes by heavy rains. The common carp was found at 1.5 percent of Fairfax County sampling sites.

Fairfax County Native: No

Size: 30 inches, rarely to 40 inches

Diet: Aquatic invertebrates, plants, seeds, berries

map of common carp distribution


 COMMON SHINER - Luxilus cornutus

common shiner fish 

Fish Notes

During the spring breeding season, the common shiner males’ fins turn a bright red making this fish quite stunning. This shiner was found at 27 percent of Fairfax County sampling sites.

Fairfax County Native: Yes

Size: 4 inches, rarely exceeding 5 inches

Diet: Aquatic and terrestrial insect, small invertebrates, algae and detritus

map of common shiner distribution


  CREEK CHUB - Semotilus atromaculatus

creek chub fish 

Fish Notes

Next to the blacknose dace, the creek chub is the second most common fish in Fairfax County. The creek chub grows large enough for it to be caught by fisherman on artificial lures. The creek chub was found at 82 percent of Fairfax County sampling sites.

Fairfax County Native: Yes

Size: 8 inches, rarely to 12 inches

Diet: Fish, crayfish and small frogs

map of creek chub distrbution 


  CUTLIPS MINNOW - Exoglossum maxillingua

cutlips minnow fish

Fish Notes

The cutlips minnow has a highly specialized lower jaw that is split into three lobes. While the exact reason for the split is debatable, it is theorized that it is used to help dislodge snails and insects from the stream bottom and to help crush mollusks for food. The cutlips minnow was found at 29 percent of Fairfax County sampling sites.

Fairfax County Native: Yes

Size: 6 inches

Diet: Aquatic insects, snails and mullusks

map of cutlips minnow distribution


  EASTERN SILVERY MINNOW - Hybognathus regius

eastern silvery minnow fish

Fish Notes

The eastern silvery minnow has a very long intestine adapted to digest algae and detritus. Its plain looks make it a difficult minnow to identify. This minnow was found at four percent of Fairfax County sampling sites.

Fairfax County Native: Yes

Size: 3.5 inches, rarely to 5 inches

Diet: Algae and detritus

map of eastern silvery minnow distribution

 


  FALLFISH - Semotilus corporalis 

 fallfish

 

Fish Notes

Fallfish are large minnows that build the largest stone nests among fishes during breeding season. These mounds can be up to three feet in height. Fallfish were found at 16 percent of Fairfax County sampling sites.

Fairfax County Native: Yes

Size: 12 inches

Diet: Aquatic and terrestrial insects, crayfish, fish and algae

map of fallfish distribution

References

Jenkins, R. E., N. M. Burkhead, 1994, Freshwater Fishes of Virginia, 1079 pgs., American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD

For more information, please email the Stormwater Planning Division or call 703-324-5500, TTY 711

 

 


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