Mississippi Silvery 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.
  • The peritoneum is black and the intestines are coiled and elongated.
  • The mouth is slightly subterminal and oblique; the eye diameter is less than the mouth corner to the tip of the snout.
  • Close-up flank: There is no pigment on the flank and the scales are not outlined in pigment; the body has a silvery color.
  • Top view: The anterior dorsal scales are not strongly outlined in pigment.
  • Close-up dorsal fin: The tip of the dorsal fin is pointed.
  • Close-up anal fin: There are 8 rays (sometimes 9) in the anal fin.
  • Comparison of Mississippi silvery minnow (top) and river shiner (bottom): Notice the subterminal mouth and the smaller eye of the Mississippi silvery minnow.
  • Comparison of Mississippi silvery minnow (top) and river shiner (bottom): Notice the subterminal mouth and the smaller eye of the Mississippi silvery minnow.
  • Alternate view of pointed dorsal fin.
DescriptionSimilar Species
Family
Minnows (Cyprinidae)
Body
Mouth and snout: Slightly subterminal and slightly oblique, without any teeth. No barbels. Snout rounded. Body patterning, color, and scales: Solid color, back olive or brown, flanks silver, belly cream or white. Dorsal scales lightly outlined in dark pigment; often not apparent in live fish and only obvious in preserved specimens. Fins with little pigment and without distinctive markings. 38-40 cycloid lateral line scales, rounded in shape. Body shape and size: Body generally fusiform, round to oval in cross section. Typically 50-85 mm (2-3.5 in) TL; maximum about 110 mm (4.3 in).
Fins
Tail, dorsal and other fins: Forked tail. Single dorsal fin with 8 rays and no spines. Pelvic fins abdominal. No adipose fin. Anal fin with 8-9 rays (usually 8) and no spines.
Distinguishing Characteristics
The Mississippi silvery minnow can be distinguished by its slightly subterminal mouth, its round lateral-line scales, straight lateral line, its black peritoneum and elongated intestine, its lack of barbels, 8-9 anal fin rays, and by its pre-dorsal scales, which are similar in size and spacing to the flank scales. See also similar species information.
Breeding Adults
Males with small tubercles on body and fins and yellowish tint along sides and fins on lower side of body.
Juveniles
Similar to adults.
Hybrids
None known from Wisconsin.
Compare Similar Species
Mouth
Minnow, BrassySlightly subterminal, slightly oblique
Minnow, Mississippi SilverySlightly subterminal, slightly oblique
Minnow, PugnoseSuperior, strongly oblique to nearly vertical
Shiner, BigmouthSlightly subterminal, slightly oblique
Shiner, ChannelTerminal to slightly subterminal, oblique
Shiner, EmeraldTerminal, oblique
Shiner, GhostTerminal, slightly oblique
Shiner, MimicTerminal to slightly subterminal, oblique
Shiner, PallidSlightly subterminal, nearly horizontal
Shiner, RedfinTerminal, oblique
Shiner, RiverTerminal, slightly oblique
Shiner, Rosyface/CarmineTerminal, oblique
Shiner, SandTerminal, oblique
Shiner, SpottailTerminal to slightly subterminal, oblique
Body Pigmentation
Minnow, BrassySilvery, golden, or brassy cast, but without distinctive dark pigmentation of scale margins or lateral-line pores
Minnow, Mississippi SilverySilvery cast, but without distinctive dark pigmentation of scale margins or lateral-line pores
Minnow, PugnoseDark lateral stripe sometimes present. Lightly pigmented area above lateral line and dorsal scales moderately outlined in pigment
Shiner, BigmouthTan back, silver sides, cream belly. Dorsal scales strongly outlined with dark pigment. Dark pigment blotch above and below each lateral-line pore, giving "mouse tracks" appearance along side.
Shiner, ChannelTan to silver body. Dorsal scales strongly outlined with dark pigment. Dark pigment blotch above and below each lateral-line pore giving "mouse tracks" appearance along side.
Shiner, EmeraldBack blue-green to iridescent in life, silvery on sides, cream on belly. Dorsal scales lightly outlined with pigment; little or no pigment on flank scales or lateral pores. Diffuse posterior lateral stripe in preserved fish.
Shiner, GhostSilvery and pale. Dorsal scales lightly outlined with pigment; pigment also on posterior top of head. No other dark pigment on body.
Shiner, MimicTan to silver body. Dorsal scales strongly outlined with dark pigment. Dark pigment blotch above and below each lateral-line pore giving "mouse tracks" appearance along side.
Shiner, PallidDark lateral stripe sometimes present, extending on to snout. Dorsal scales lightly outlined with pigment; little or no other pigment on body
Shiner, RedfinDark gray or blackish on back grading to silvery and cream on sides and belly; diffuse broad dark lateral stripe in some preserved specimens. Dark diffuse spot at anterior base of dorsal fin.
Shiner, RiverTan to silvery on back and sides, cream on belly. Dorsal scales lightly outlined with pigment; little or no pigment on flank scales or lateral pores. Mid dorsal stripe continuous around dorsal fin; sometimes faint
Shiner, Rosyface/CarmineDark olive back, silver sides, cream belly. Head and body red in breeers. Dorsal scales lightly to moderately outlined with pigment; little or no pigment on flank scales or lateral pores
Shiner, SandTan to silver body. Dorsal scales strongly outlined with dark pigment. Dark pigment blotch above and below each lateral-line pore giving "mouse tracks" appearance along side
Shiner, SpottailTan/olive back, silver sides, cream belly. Dorsal scales lightly outlined with pigment; little or no pigment on flank scales or lateral pores. Dark spot at base of caudal fin
Other Distinguishing Feature
Minnow, BrassyBlack peritoneum, long gut with intestine 3.8-4.1 X TL; dorsal fin tip rouinded; eye diameter greater than length from corner of mouth to snout tip
Minnow, Mississippi SilveryBlack peritoneum, long gut with intestine 5.4-5.8 X TL; dorsal fin tip pointed; eye diameter less than length from corner of mouth to snout tip. Usually 8, occasionally 9, anal fin rays
Minnow, Pugnose9 dorsal fin rays; 8 (rarely 7) anal fin rays
Shiner, BigmouthMouth length greater than eye diameter; usually 8 anal fin rays, occasionally 7 or 9
Shiner, Channel8 (rarely 7) anal fin rays; lateral-line scales 2-3 times as tall as wide
Shiner, Emerald10-12 (usually 11) anal fin rays
Shiner, GhostInfraorbital sensory canal on head largely absent
Shiner, Mimic8 (rarely 7) anal fin rays; lateral-line scales 3 times as tall as wide
Shiner, PallidUsually 8, occasionally 9, anal fin rays
Shiner, Redfin41-48 lateral-line scales; 10-12 (usually 11) anal fin rays
Shiner, River7 (rarely 8) anal fin rays
Shiner, Rosyface/Carmine9-11 (usually 10) anal fin rays
Shiner, Sand7 (rarely 8) anal fin rays
Shiner, Spottail8 (rarely 7) anal fin rays
Similarity Index
Minnow, BrassyVery similar
Minnow, Mississippi SilveryN/A
Minnow, PugnoseVery similar
Shiner, BigmouthVery similar
Shiner, ChannelVery similar
Shiner, EmeraldVery similar
Shiner, GhostVery similar
Shiner, MimicVery similar
Shiner, PallidVery similar
Shiner, RedfinVery similar
Shiner, RiverVery similar
Shiner, Rosyface/CarmineVery similar
Shiner, SandVery similar
Shiner, SpottailVery similar
Comments
Minnow, BrassySee 1st row.
Minnow, Mississippi SilverySee 1st row.
Minnow, PugnoseSee 1st row.
Shiner, BigmouthUnless otherwise noted, all species typically have 8 anal rays, 8 dorsal rays, 41 or fewer lateral line scales (less than 2 times as tall as wide), a silvery peritoneum with an intestine shorter than the total length, a mouth length less than eye diameter, and an infraorbital canl on the head that is complete (extends behind and under eye).
Shiner, ChannelSee 1st row. Also see note under Distinguishing Characteristics in Attribute Details!
Shiner, EmeraldSee 1st row.
Shiner, GhostSee 1st row.
Shiner, MimicSee 1st row. Also see note under Distinguishing Characteristics in Attribute Details!
Shiner, PallidSee 1st row.
Shiner, RedfinSee 1st row.
Shiner, RiverSee 1st row.
Shiner, Rosyface/CarmineSee 1st row.
Shiner, SandSee 1st row.
Shiner, SpottailSee 1st row.
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