Northern Redbelly Dace
  • 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 sides show two lateral stripes and 70-90 lateral line scales.
  • Close-up mouth: Notice the small, strongly oblique, and slightly curved mouth; the lower jaw is slightly ahead of the upper jaw.
  • Close-up flank: The sides show two lateral stripes, fine scales, and a red/yellow belly (breeding male shown).
  • View of intestine: Notice the long coiled intestine and the black peritoneum.
  • Side view of a breeding male: Notice the reddish belly as well as the late date of capture (November 2000).
  • Side view of a breeding male: Notice the yellow belly.
  • Close-up head of a breeding male: Notice the small, strongly oblique, and slightly curved mouth; the lower jaw is slightly ahead of the upper jaw.
  • Close-up underside of a breeding male: Notice the yellow coloration of belly and breast.
  • Close-up flank of a breeding male: Notice the two lateral stripes, the fine scales, and the red/yellow belly.
  • Side view of a breeding male: Notice the reddish belly.
  • Alternative side view of two adults.
  • Comparison of northern redbelly dace (bottom), finescale dace (top), and their hybrid (middle): Notice the intermediate appearance of the hybrid.
  • Side view of a northern redbelly dace X finescale dace hybrid: Notice the hint of a second lateral stripe (intermediate characteristic).
  • Side view of a two northern redbelly dace X finescale dace hybrids: Notice the hint of a second lateral stripe above the mid-lateral stripe (intermediate characteristic).
  • Close-up flank of a northern redbelly dace X finescale dace hybrid: Notice the hint of a second lateral stripe (intermediate characteristic).
  • Close-up mouth of a northern redbelly dace X finescale dace hybrid: Notice the medium-size mouth, a finescale dace characteristic.
  • View of intestine of a northern redbelly dace X finescale dace hybrid: Notice the medium-length intestine (intermediate characteristic) and the mottled black peritoneum.
DescriptionSimilar Species
Family
Minnows (Cyprinidae)
Body
Mouth and Snout: Terminal oblique, with a lower jaw that is slightly ahead of the upper jaw. The mouth is relatively small, just barely reaching the front of the eye. No teeth. No barbels. Body Pattern: Dark brown or olive on back grading to lighter olive, silver or tan on the sides with two black or dark brown stripes. The stripe along the midline is thicker and more conspicuous. The stripe halfway between the lateral line and the top of fish is usually less pigmented and less obvious, and it turns into a series of spots beyond the dorsal fin. Fins without distinctive markings. White, cream or light yellow on belly. Body Shape: Fusiform and elongate, almost round in cross-section. Typical adult size is 35-60 mm TL (1.5-2.5 in), with a maximum of about 80 mm (3.25 in).
Fins
Forked tail. A single relatively short dorsal fin with 8 rays (rarely 7) and without spines. Pelvic fins abdominal. No adipose fin. Anal fin with 8 rays and no spines.
Distinguishing Characteristics
The tiny scales and two stripes along the side of the body distinguish this species. Mouth terminal and slightly superior, small and strongly oblique and curved. Long digestive tract. 70-90 cycloid lateral line scales. See also similar species information.
Breeding Adults
Males are bright red or yellow below lateral stripe. Minute tubercles (difficult to see) on breast, pectoral fins, and lower caudal peduncle scales.
Juveniles
Similar to adults, but with less color.
Hybrids
Northern redbelly dace X finescale dace; northern redbelly dace X common shiner; northern redbelly dace X pearl dace.
Compare Similar Species
Body Pattern
Dace, FinescaleVery dark back (similar to lateral stripe in intensity) and single very dark mid-lateral stripe
Dace, Redbelly NorthernModerately dark back (lighter than lateral stripes) and two very dark lateral stripes, with mid-lateral stripe better developed than the stripe above it
Dace, Southern RedbellyModerately dark back (lighter than lateral stripes) and two very dark lateral stripes, with the mid-lateral stripe better developed than the stripe above it
Mouth
Dace, FinescaleTerminal, moderate in size, moderately oblique, and straight, reaching back beyond the front of the eye, forming about a 36 degree angle with the horizontal, and having the tip of the lower jaw very slightly ahead of the upper jaw
Dace, Redbelly NorthernTerminal to slightly superior, small, strongly oblique, and curved, reaching back to nostrils but not beyond front of eye, forming about a 50 degree angle with the horizontal, and with the tip of the lower jaw slightly ahead of the upper jaw
Dace, Southern RedbellyTerminal to slightly subterminal, small, moderately oblique, and straight, reaching back to nostrils but not beyond front of eye, forming about a 36 degree angle with the horizontal, and with the tip of the upper jaw slightly ahead of the lower jaw
Digestive tract
Dace, FinescaleShort and S-shaped, about 60-80% of total length
Dace, Redbelly NorthernLong with two coils, about 110-160% of total length
Dace, Southern RedbellyLong with two coils, about 160-170% of total length
Similarity Index
Dace, FinescaleVery similar
Dace, Redbelly NorthernN/A
Dace, Southern RedbellyVery similar
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