Notropis heterolepis
Blacknose Shiner

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The natural history of the northwoods



  • Notropis, from the Greek, "back keel"
  • heterolepis, from the Greek, "varying scale"
  • Common name from the black lateral band over the snout
  • Other common names include: Blacknose Dace, Blacknose Minnow, Black-sided Minnow, Blunt-nosed Minnow, Cayuga Minnow, Muskoka Minnow, Northern Blacknose Shiner


  • 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 small blackstripe minnow.
  • Length to 2½"
  • Weight
  • Coloration
    • olive-yellow on the back
    • silvery sides
    • whitish belly
    • conspicuous lateral band with vertical black crescents which crosses the snout but does not extend to chin
    • scales on back outlined with dark pigment give a cross-hatch appearance.
  • Body
    • slender with only slight lateral compression
    • lateral line of 33-37 scales, but not all scales have pores
    • dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins of 8 rays
    • pectoral fins of 12-14 rays
  • Head
    • mouth sub-terminal with slight oblique angle
    • barbel lacking
    • pharyngeal teeth in a 4-4 pattern



  • Hudson Bay drainage across southern Canada to Nova Scotia, through the Great Lakes and Mississippi drainage south to Nebraska and Missouri.


  • Small creeks and the weedy shallows of lakes and ponds.
  • Becoming rare in many parts of its range due to habitat loss and deterioriating water quality.


  • Feeds primarily from the bottom and not at all from the surface, generally early in the morning and late in the day.
  • Feeds by collecting zooplankton on the bottom. Small individuals feed on vegetation.






Boreal border

Last updated on 11 December 1999