Bluntnose Minnow
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult.
  • Top view adult.
  • Bottom view adult.
  • Head-on view adult.
  • Close-up flank.
  • Close-up head.
  • Close-up mouth and snout.
  • Close-up tail.
  • Close-up dorsal fin.
  • Close-up anal fin.
  • Close-up pectoral fin.
  • Close-up pelvic fin.
  • Close-up anal fin: There are 7 anal fin rays.
  • The bluntnose minnow has 40-44 lateral line scales, a lateral stripe, and a caudal spot.
  • The snout is blunt and subterminal, and the nearly horizontal mouth extends to the front of the eye.
  • Close-up of caudal region: There is a lateral stripe and a caudal spot.
  • The peritoneum is black, and the digestive tract is relatively long.
  • The dorsal scales are small and crowded between head and dorsal fin relative to scales on the flanks.
  • Dorso-lateral view of breeding male: Breeding males develop a faint, gray spongy tissue in the dorso-lateral area.
  • Side view of breeding male: Breeding males develop a dark color on their body and fins.
  • Close-up head of breeding male: Notice the black head with tubercles.
  • Close-up caudal region of breeding male: Notice the dark pigment outlining the fin rays.
  • Side view of breeding male: Notice the dark color on their body and fins.
  • Side view of breeding male and female: Notice the dark color of the breeding male, the female is of normal color with a distended belly.
  • Dorso-lateral view of breeding male: Notice the faint, gray spongy tissue in the dorso-lateral area.
  • Head-on view of breeding male: Notice the tubercles.
  • Close-up dorsal fin of breeding male: The first dorsal ray is shortened and thickened and widely spaced from the second ray.
  • Side view of year-of year: Juveniles are similar to adults.
  • Side view of young-of-year: Juveniles are similar to adults.
  • Alternative side view: Notice elongate, almost cylindrical body shape.
DescriptionSimilar Species
Family
Minnows (Cyprinidae)
Body
Mouth and snout: Mouth subterminal and horizontal without any teeth. No barbels. Snout blunt to rounded. Body patterning, color, and scales: Olive or brownish, usually with a black lateral stripe, sometimes missing in larger fish, yielding a solid color on flanks, grading to white or cream on the belly. Dorsal fin sometimes with a dark pigment blotch on first 2-3 membranes; often faint in living fish. Usually a distinct spot at the base of the tail, sometimes missing in larger fish. Other fins without distinctive markings (but see Breeding Adults below). 40-44 cycloid lateral line scales, rounded in shape. Body shape and size: Body generally FUSIFORM but also could be perceived as cylindrical (rigid body, round in cross section, with relatively little tapering from back of head to front of caudal peduncle). Typically 40-75 mm (1.5-3 in) TL; maximum reported about 110 mm (4.5 in).
Fins
Tail, dorsal and other fins: Forked tail with rounded tips. Single dorsal fin with 8 rays and no spines. Pelvic fins abdominal. No adipose fin. Anal fin with 7 rays and no spines.
Distinguishing Characteristics
The bluntnose minnow can be distinguished by its scales on the back between head and dorsal fin (predorsal scales) being smaller, more numerous, and more crowded together than scales in a comparably sized area of the flank; 40-44 lateral line scales; 7 anal fin rays; horizontal and clearly subterminal mouth that extends to anterior of eye; blunt to rounded snout; peritoneum black and digestive tract 1.0-1.2 TL. See also similar species information.
Breeding Adults
Males – Very dark body, almost black, especially the head. Tail, dorsal, and pectoral fin rays outlined with dark pigment; anal and pelvic fins clear. 1st ray of dorsal fin thickened and shortened and widely spaced from 2nd ray. Obvious large tubercles on snout. Grayish “pad” of spongy tissue in dorso-lateral area behind head.
Juveniles
Similar to adults.
Hybrids
None confirmed from Wisconsin.
Compare Similar Species
Scales
Chub, CreekPredorsal scales small and crowded; 49-66 lateral line scales
Chub, HornyheadPredorsal scales similar to flank scales; 38-48 lateral line scales
Minnow, BluntnosePredorsal scales small and crowded; 40-44 lateral line scales
Minnow, BullheadPredorsal scales small and crowded; 40-45 lateral line scales
Minnow, FatheadPredorsal scales small and crowded; 43-49 lateral line scales
Minnow, OzarkPredorsal scales similar to flank scales; 36-38 lateral line scales
Anal Fin
Chub, Creek8 rays
Chub, Hornyhead7 rays
Minnow, Bluntnose7 rays
Minnow, Bullhead7 rays
Minnow, Fathead7 rays
Minnow, Ozark8 rays
Mouth and Snout
Chub, CreekMouth terminal, slightly oblique, extending to almost middle of eye; snout triangular
Chub, HornyheadMouth subterminal, slightly oblique, extending to front of eye; snout triangular
Minnow, BluntnoseMouth subterminal, nearly horizontal, extending to front of eye; snout blunt to rounded
Minnow, BullheadMouth terminal to slightly subterminal, slightly oblique, extending to front of eye; snout triangular to rounded
Minnow, FatheadMouth terminal or superior, oblique or nearly vertical, does not extend to eye; snout triangular to rounded
Minnow, OzarkMouth subterminal, slightly oblique, extending to front of eye; snout triangular
Digestive Tract
Chub, CreekShort tract, 0.6-0.7 total length; peritoneum silvery or gray
Chub, HornyheadRelatively long tract, ~0.9 total length; peritoneum dusky to brownish
Minnow, BluntnoseRelatively long tract, 1.0-1.2 total length; peritoneum black
Minnow, BullheadShort tract, 0.6-0.7 total length; peritoneum silvery
Minnow, FatheadLong tract, 1.4-1.7 total length; peritoneum black
Minnow, OzarkVery long tract, 1.9-2.4 total length; peritoneum black
Similarity Index
Chub, CreekModerately similar
Chub, HornyheadModerately similar
Minnow, BluntnoseN/A
Minnow, BullheadVery similar
Minnow, FatheadModerately similar
Minnow, OzarkModerately similar
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