Notropis anogenus
Pugnose Shiner

Pugnose Shiner

Flora, fauna, earth, and sky...
The natural history of the northwoods



  • Notropis, from the Greek, "back keel"
  • anogenus, from the Greek, "without a chin"
  • Common name from its almost vertical, upturned mouth


  • 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 Notropis, the eastern shiners


  • A delicate little minnow at risk.
  • Length to 2"
  • Coloration
    • back silvery with yellow cast
    • sides and belly silvery
    • lead-colored lateral stripe from small dark spot on base of tail, along sides and through eye.
  • Body
    • slender, fragile
  • Head
    • small and almost vertical upturned mouth giving a distinctive pugnose appearance
    • large eyes
  • Lifespan



  • Originally a narrow band from the St. Lawrence to North Dakota.
  • Now only Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.


  • Dense aquatic vegetation in slow waters of larger streams. Timid and secretive, schools averaging 15 to 35 individuals immediately drop to the bottom in the densest vegetation when threatened.
  • Prefers clear, weedy shoals of glacial lakes and streams of low gradient over sand, mud, gravel, or marl. Characteristic vegetation includes pondweeds, water milfoil, elodea, eelgrass, coontail, bullrush, and filamentous algae.
  • Extremely intolerant to turbidity and siltation, which may explain their decline in much of their original range.


  • Grazes on plants in midwater, consuming filamentous algae and cladocerans.


  • Listed as a Species of Special Concern by the Minnesota DNR.
  • Listed as Threatened in Wisconsin by the State of Wisconsin (1989).


  • Its strict habitat requirements make it a good indicator of environmental quality.


  • Spawning occurs from mid-May through July


  • The undeveloped glacial lakes of the BWCAW are providing a significant refuge for this under-appreciated little fish.


Boreal border

Last updated on 17 October 1999