Pimephales notatus
Bluntnose Minnow

Bluntnose Minnow

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The natural history of the northwoods



  • Pimephales, from the Greek, "fat head"
  • notatus, from the Latin, "marked"
  • Common name
  • Other common names include: Blue-nosed Chub, Bullhead Minnow, Fathead Chub


  • 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 Pimephales, the bluntnose minnows


  • A
  • Length to about 4"
  • Coloration
    • pale olive-green above
    • silvery-bluish sides
    • silvery beneath
    • faint spot in first few rays of dorsal fin
    • dark lateral band from snout to tail ends in dark spot that distinguishes them from fathead and bullhead minnows.
  • Body
    • almost cylindrical in cross section
    • broad, flat area just before the dorsal fin
    • shortened, closely attached first ray in the dorsal fin
    • crowded scales in advance of the dorsal fin
    • complete lateral line of 41-44 scales
    • dorsal and pelvic fins of 8 rays
    • anal fin of 7 rays
    • pectoral fins of 15-16 rays
  • Head
    • mouth almost horizontal and slightly overhung by the snout
    • no barbel present
    • broad, flat pharyngeal teeth, with long cutting edges, in a 4-4 pattern
  • Lifespan
  • During spawning. males develop a bluish body and a blackened head with large tubercles arranged in 3 rows.


  • Distinguished from closely related Fathead Minnow (Pimephales promelas) by the dark lateral band from snout to tail ending in dark spot.


  • Manitoba and North Dakota through the Great Lakes, south to Oklahoma and Alabama.


  • Essentially a small creek species that is intolerant of high turbidity.
  • Common in northern Minnesota lakes, but rare in larger rivers


  • Algae, insect larvae, diatoms, entomostracans, and rarely fish eggs or small fish.



  • Excellent bait fish for crappie, perch, and other panfishes.
  • Adapts well to aquaria.


  • Spawns spring to late summer.
  • Adhesive eggs are deposited in masses on the underside of floating logs, flat rocks, or other objects. Eggs develop into fry after about 8-12 days, depending upon water temperature.



Boreal border

Last updated on 17 October 1999