Rhinichthys cataractae
Longnose Dace

Longnose Dace

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The natural history of the northwoods



  • Rhinichthys, from the Greek, "snout fish"
  • cataractae, from the Greek, "of the cataract"
  • Common Name from the extended snout
  • Other common names include: Stream Skater


  • Kingdom Animalia
    • Phylum Chordata,
    • Subphylum Vertebrata,
      • 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 Rhinichthys, the riffle daces


  • A minnow of rapids and swift flowing streams.
  • Length up to 6", usually 2"-3"
  • Weight
  • Coloration
    • olive-green to brown on back and upper sides
    • shading to white on the belly
    • mottled appearance due to presence of darkened scale pockets
    • lateral band indistinct in adults
    • silver peritoneum speckled with brown covers the gut cavity
    • breeding males washed with pink on the lower portions of the body
  • Body
    • complete lateral line of 61-73 scales
    • dorsal and pelvic fins of 8 rays
    • anal fin of 7 rays
    • pectoral fins of from 13-15 rays
  • Head
    • hooked pharyngeal teeth in a 2, 4-4, 2 pattern, but formula may vary.
    • upper jaw and snout greatly overhang the lower jaw
    • barbel present at the tip of the maxillar
  • Lifespan


  • Distinguished from the closely related Blacknose Dace (Rhinichthys atratus) by:
    • habitat preference for swift flowing waters
    • absence of blotching on sides
    • snout extending far beyond the end of the upper jaw


  • Northwestern Canada through the Great Lakes to the eastern US.


  • Prefers small streams, generally in riffles of gravel and boulder.
  • Often found in turbulent waters. Also the wave lashed shores of very large lakes (Superior, Lake of the Woods, etc)
  • Often found in trout streams.


  • Aquatic insect larvae, worms, and algae.



  • Sometimes used as bait and are quite hardy.


  • Spawns late spring to early summer, in riffles over gravel and rubble.
  • Both the male and female construct a nest of small pebbles.
  • After spawning, little parental care is given the eggs.



Boreal border

Last updated on 17 October 1999