Campostoma anomalum
Common Stoneroller

Common Stoneroller

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The natural history of the northwoods



  • Campostoma, from the Greek, "curved mouth"
  • anomalum, from the Greek, "abnormal, unusual"
  • Common name from the behavior of the male in excavating a nest by moving gravel with its nose
  • Other common names include: Dough Belly, Racehorse Chub, Rotgut Minnow, Steel-backed Chub, Stone Lugger, Stoneroller, Tallow-mouth Minnow


  • Kingdom Animalia
    • Phylum Chordata, animals with a spinal chord
    • Subphylum Vertebrata, animals with a backbone
      • Superclass Osteichthyes, bony fishes
      • Class Actinopterygii, ray-finned and spiny rayed fishes
      • Subclass Neopterygii
      • Infraclass Teleostei
        • Superorder Ostariophysi
        • Order Cypriniformes, minnows and suckers
        • Family Cyprinidae, carps and minnows
          • Genus Campostoma, the stonerollers


  • A small fish of small, clear creeks
  • Length to about 8"
  • Coloration
    • brownish-olive with a brassy luster above
    • sides marked with scattered dark scales, giving a mottled appearance
    • silvery to white beneath
    • males reddish with numerous tubercles during spring spawn
  • Body
    • slender to moderately stout
    • compressed laterally with a definite arch to the back
    • dorsal and pelvic fins of 8 rays
    • pectoral fins of 15 rays
    • anal fins of 7 rays
    • complete lateral line of 49-55 scales
  • Head
    • mouth horizontal, sub-terminal, and lacking barbel
    • jaw chisel-shaped and cartilaginous
    • pharyngeal teeth lightly hooked, in 4-4 pattern
  • Spawning males develop a dark bar across the anal fin and have tubercles on their back, top of the head, and between the nostrils.



  • Great Plains from Minnesota to Texas, east to the Atlantic.


  • Prefers the riffle areas of small to medium-sized streams of moderate gradient.
  • Cool, clear waters


  • A bottom feeder, living on insect larvae, small mollusks, and filamentous algae.
  • Feeds by scraping the algae and bottom ooze from submerged objects.



  • Of little sport value, although it can be caught on small wet flies or bits of worm.
  • A good bait fish.


  • Spawning peaks in April, when males excavate nests by moving gravel with their mouths or nudging it away with their snouts, giving rise to their common name. One or several males make a nest, which is a pile of small stones about 12" in diameter, on clean gravel. The stones in this nest may be ½" in diameter.



Boreal border

Last updated on 15 October 1999