Public Works and Environmental Services

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our administrative offices are open to the public by appointment only at this time. Please call or email 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday

703-324-5500
TTY 711

12000 Government Center Parkway
Suite 449, Fairfax, Va 22035

Shannon Curtis,
Chief, Watershed Assessment Branch

Minnow - Family Cyprinidae

Much Longer Than Tall
Much Longer Than Tall
One Dorsal Fin
One Dorsal Fin
Forward/Upward Facing Mouth
Forward/Upward Facing Mouth

On This Page

 

BLACKNOSE DACE - Rhinichthys atratulus

BLACKNOSE DACE

BLACKNOSE DACE - Rhinichthys atratulus

Scientific Name: Rhinichthys atratulus
Fairfax County Native: Yes
Size: Typically 2 to 3 inches
Diet: Aquatic and terrestrial insects, algae and detritus
Distribution sampling sites: Map

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.

 

BLUNTNOSE MINNOW- Pimephales notatus

BLUNTNOSE MINNOW

BLUNTNOSE MINNOW- Pimephales notatus

Scientific Name: Pimephales notatus
Fairfax County Native: Unknown, has spread quickly because of useas a bait species
Size: 3 inches, rarely to 4 inches
Diet: Aquatic insects and other small invertebrates
Distribution sampling sites: Map

Bluntnose minnows are named for their short, blunt noses. During breeding season, the bluntnose minnow sports numerous hard bumps on its snout called tubercles.

 

CENTRAL STONEROLLER - Campostoma anomalum

CENTRAL STONEROLLER

CENTRAL STONEROLLER - Campostoma anomalum

Scientific Name: Campostoma anomalum
Fairfax County Native: Yes
Size: 5 inches, rarely to 7 inches
Diet: Algae and detritus
Distribution sampling sites: Map

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.

 

COMELY SHINER - Notropis amoenus

COMELY SHINER

COMELY SHINER - Notropis amoenus

Scientific Name: Notropis amoenus
Fairfax County Native: Yes
Size: 3 inches, rarely larger
Diet: Unknown
Distribution sampling sites: Map

The comely shiner is rare in Fairfax County. Due to its small size and rarity, not much is known about this minnow.

 

COMMON CARP - Cyprinus carpio

COMMON CARP

COMMON CARP - Cyprinus carpio

Scientific Name: Cyprinus carpio
Fairfax County Native: No
Size: 30 inches, rarely to 40 inches
Diet: Aquatic invertebrates, plants, seeds, berries
Distribution sampling sites: Map

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 heavyrains.

COMMON SHINER - Luxilus cornutus

COMMON SHINER

COMMON SHINER - Luxilus cornutus

Scientific Name: Luxilus cornutus
Fairfax County Native: Yes
Size: 4 inches, rarely exceeding 5 inches
Diet: Aquatic and terrestrial insect, small invertebrates, algae and detritus
Distribution sampling sites: Map

During the spring breeding season, the common shiner males’ fins turn a bright red making this fish quite stunning.

CREEK CHUB - Semotilus atromaculatus

CREEK CHUB

CREEK CHUB - Semotilus atromaculatus

Scientific Name: Semotilus atromaculatus
Fairfax County Native: Yes
Size: 8 inches, rarely to 12 inches
Diet: Fish, crayfish and small frogs
Distribution sampling sites: Map

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.

CUTLIPS MINNOW - Exoglossum maxillingua

CUTLIPS MINNOW

CUTLIPS MINNOW - Exoglossum maxillingua

Scientific Name: Exoglossum maxillingua
Fairfax County Native: Yes
Size: 6 inches
Diet: Aquatic insects, snails and mullusks
Distribution sampling sites: Map

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.

EASTERN SILVERY MINNOW- Hybognathus regius

EASTERN SILVERY MINNOW

EASTERN SILVERY MINNOW- Hybognathus regius

Scientific Name: Hybognathus regius
Fairfax County Native: Yes
Size: 3.5 inches, rarely to 5 inches
Diet: Algae and detritus
Distribution sampling sites: Map

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.

FALLFISH - Semotilus corporalis

FALLFISH

FALLFISH - Semotilus corporalis

Scientific Name: Semotilus corporalis
Fairfax County Native: Yes
Size: 12 inches
Diet: Aquatic and terrestrial insects, crayfish, fish and algae
Distribution sampling sites: Map

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.

FATHEAD MINNOW - Pimephales promelas

FATHEAD MINNOW

FATHEAD MINNOW - Pimephales promelas

Scientific Name: Pimephales promelas
Fairfax County Native: No, probably introduced as a bait bucketfish
Size: 2.5 inches, rarely above 3 inches
Diet: Insects, algae and detritus
Distribution sampling sites: Map

The fathead minnow is a popular bait fish which has led to its large distribution across the eastern United States. This fish is hardy and is used by scientists to test the effects of chemicals.

 

GOLDEN SHINER - Notemigonus crysoleucas

GOLDEN SHINER

GOLDEN SHINER - Notemigonus crysoleucas

Scientific Name: Notemigonus crysoleucas
Fairfax County Native: Probably, but widespread use as a bait minnow has expanded its range considerably
Size: 7 inches, rarely to 10 inches
Diet: Terrestrial and aquatic insects, plant matter
Distribution sampling sites: Map

The golden shiner is a staple in the bait world, which has resulted in its large distribution. The name is a reference to the golden color that appears in some of the species.

 

GOLDFISH - Carassius auratus

GOLDFISH

GOLDFISH - Carassius auratus

Scientific Name: Carassius auratus
Fairfax County Native: No
Size: 16 inches
Diet: Aquatic insects, plant matter and small fish
Distribution sampling sites: Map

Goldfish were first introduced to the United States in the late 1600s. Goldfish are naturally a silvery bronze color and not the bright orange you see in the pet stores.

 

LONGNOSE DACE - Rhinichthys cataractae

LONGNOSE DACE

LONGNOSE DACE - Rhinichthys cataractae

Scientific Name: Rhinichthys cataractae
Fairfax County Native: Yes
Size: 3 to 4 inches, rarely to 5 inches
Diet: Aquatic insects and other small invertebrates
Distribution sampling sites: Map

This native minnow is well adapted to living in swift running water. It has a down sloped nose and a rudimentary gas bladder which allows them to live easily in the swift current.

 

RIVER CHUB - Nocomis micropogon

RIVER CHUB

RIVER CHUB - Nocomis micropogon

Scientific Name: Nocomis micropogon
Fairfax County Native: Yes
Size: 7 inches, rarely to 9 inches
Diet: Aquatic insects and other small invertebrates
Distribution sampling sites: Map

As its name implies, the river chub is found mainly in medium to largerivers. In Fairfax County they were found on the main stems of AccotinkCreek, Pohick Creek, Cub Run and Popes Head Creek. During the breedingseason the males develop tubercles to defend their nest.

ROSYSIDE DACE - Clinostomus funduloides

ROSYSIDE DACE

ROSYSIDE DACE - Clinostomus funduloides

Scientific Name: Clinostomus funduloides
Fairfax County Native: Yes
Size: 3 to 4 inches
Diet: Aquatic and terrestrial insects and other small invertebrates
Distribution sampling sites: Map

The rosyside dace is a nest associate which means they breed over other fish species' nests. This has led to some cases of hybridization with river chubs, creek chubs and fallfish.

SATINFIN SHINERS - Cyprinella spp.

SATINFIN SHINERS

SATINFIN SHINERS - Cyprinella spp.

Scientific Name: Cyprinella spp.
Fairfax County Native: Yes
Size: 3 inches, rarely to 4 inches
Diet: Aquatic and terrestrial insects and other smallinvertebrates
Distribution sampling sites: Map

Two species of satinfin shiner are found in Fairfax County; the spotfin shiner and the satinfin shiner. The satinfin shiners have a reputation as a good aquarium fish because of their active nature and their acceptance of dried fish food.

SILVERJAW MINNOW - Notropis buccatus

SILVERJAW MINNOW

SILVERJAW MINNOW - Notropis buccatus

Scientific Name: Notropis buccatus
Fairfax County Native: Unknown
Size: 2.5 inches, rarely to 3 inches
Diet: Benthic macroinvertebrates
Distribution sampling sites: Map

The silverjaw has a canal structure below its eye that allows vibrations created by prey to be detected.

SPOTTAIL SHINER - Notropis hudsonius

SPOTTAIL SHINER

SPOTTAIL SHINER - Notropis hudsonius

Scientific Name: Notropis hudsonius
Fairfax County Native: Yes
Size: 3.5 inches, rarely to 5 inches
Diet: Aquatic and terrestrial insects and other smallinvertebrates
Distribution sampling sites: Map

The spottail shiner is a large shiner that is typically found in medium to large streams and rivers and can survive in tidal brackish waters.

SWALLOWTAIL SHINER - Notropis procne

SWALLOWTAIL SHINER

SWALLOWTAIL SHINER - Notropis procne

Scientific Name: Notropis procne
Fairfax County Native: Yes
Size: 2.5 inches
Diet: Most small aquatic invertebrates
Distribution sampling sites: Map

Like the cyprinella, the swallowtail shiner does well in aquaria and will readily breed if given the right conditions.


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

Fairfax Virtual Assistant