• Family: Cyprinidae (Minnows and Carps)
• Other Names: None
• Ohio Status: No special status
• Adult Size: Typically 2-3 inches, can reach 4.5 inches.
• Typical Foods: Algae, aquatic insects larvae, diatoms, small crustaceans and other invertebrates.
The bluntnose minnow has stout half ray in front of the usual 8 rays on the dorsal fin and the scales on the back between the head and dorsal fin are small and squished together. There is a dark spot of pigment on the first two or three dorsal rays about mid way up the fin. Bluntnose minnows have a rounded head and slightly sub-terminal (ending below tip of snout) mouth. They have dark edges to the scales which gives them the appearance of a crosshatching pattern over much of their body. Breeding males can be very dark in coloration and have 3 rows of large pointed tubercles (horn like bumps) on there snout. They also have a spongy pad on the back between the head and dorsal fin. The bluntnose minnow differs from the closely related fathead minnow by a dark mid lateral stripe that runs from the snout to the tail with a black spot at the base of the tail. This stripe can be absent when they are caught from muddy water but the black spot is usually still visible. They also have a complete lateral line, which the fathead minnow does not have. Another closely related species, the bullhead minnow, differs by having not as long and slender of a body, also lacks a distinct lateral stripe, and has a dark crescent shaped mark of pigment on the side of the snout. Both of these species lack the dark scale edges that give the bluntnose minnow a crosshatched appearance.
Habitat and Habits
The bluntnose minnow is found throughout Ohio. It occupies a broad range of habitats including lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams. They prefer shallow areas of clear water with sand and gravel bottoms.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
Bluntnose minnows spawn repeatedly starting in May and continue into August. Males select the spawning site, usually under logs, branches or rocks in shallow water. They will also use artificial spawning sites in old tiles or pipes. Females lay adhesive eggs on the underside of whatever the male has chosen to spawn under. The male then aggressively defends the spawning site from other fish. Males also use the large spongy pad on the top of their body to clean the eggs the female has laid on the underside of the select object.