Pearl 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.
  • Close-up mouth: The mouth is terminal and relatively small in size.
  • Close-up flank: Notice the mottled pattern.
  • The sides display faint mottling and the hint of a lateral stripe; the mouth is relatively small; there are 62-75 lateral line scales.
  • Close-up mouth: Notice the presence of a barbel between the lip and the upper jaw (not clearly visible); the mouth is terminal and relatively small.
  • Side view of a breeding male: Notice the red and pink color below the lateral stripe.
  • Side view of a breeding male: Notice the red and pink color below the lateral stripe.
  • Side view of a yearling: Juveniles are similar to adults.
DescriptionSimilar Species
Family
Minnows (Cyprinidae)
Body
Mouth and Snout: Terminal, not reaching back to front of eye, relatively small and without teeth. May have a small inconspicuous barbel between the lip and the snout about midway from the corner of the mouth to the tip of the snout. Body Pattern: Grayish brown, dark brown, olive or black, grading into white or cream on belly. Often, but not always, has a diffuse dark lateral stripe. The pearl dace does not have a dark blotch at the base of the dorsal fin. It may have pearly scales on the side. Fins without distinctive markings. Body Shape: Fusiform, somewhat elongate, round in cross-section. Typical adult size is 75-125 mm TL (3-5 in), with a maximum of about 150 mm (6 in).
Fins
Forked tail. One single relatively short dorsal fin with 8 rays and without spines. Pelvic fins abdominal. No adipose fin. Anal fin has 8 rays and no spines.
Distinguishing Characteristics
The pearl dace has a small terminal mouth. 62-75 cycloid lateral line scales. Inconspicuous barbel at the corner of its mouth. Mottling and sometimes a diffuse lateral stripe on sides. See also similar species information.
Breeding Adults
Breeding males develop a pinkish cast, particularly below the lateral stripe and near the pectoral fins. Minute tubercles appear on head, body and pectoral fins. Red or orange stripe along flank below dark lateral stripe.
Juveniles
Similar to adults, but with more obvious lateral stripe.
Hybrids
None confirmed from Wisconsin.
Compare Similar Species
Mouth
Chub, CreekTerminal; large, extends almost to middle of eye
Chub, HornyheadSlightly subterminal; moderate size, extends to anterior of eye
Chub, LakeSlightly subterminal; small, barely extends to front of eye
Dace, FinescaleTerminal; moderate size, extends to anterior of eye
Dace, PearlTerminal; small barely extends to front of eye
Dace, RedsideSlightly superior; very large, extends to middle or back of eye
Barbels
Chub, CreekSometimes present in groove between lip and upper jaw
Chub, HornyheadAlways present in corner of mouth
Chub, LakeAlways present in corner of mouth
Dace, FinescaleNone
Dace, PearlSometimes present in groove between lip and upper jaw
Dace, RedsideNone
Body Pattern
Chub, CreekVariable; solid color, mottled, or with dark lateral stripe. Dark spot at anterior base of dorsal fin (absent or faint in young)
Chub, HornyheadDark lateral stripe ending in dark spot at base of tail; stripe and spot faint or absent in large adults
Chub, LakeDark with faint mottling and sometimes a diffuse lateral stripe posterior to dorsal fin
Dace, FinescaleDark back, lighter on upper flank, and then dark lateral stripe
Dace, PearlDark gray, olive, or brown with fine mottling; often a diffuse dark lateral stripe present, but faint or absent in some adults
Dace, RedsideWhite or yellow lateral stripe on upper flanks, below this is a broad lateral stripe that is orange or red anteriorly and black beyond dorsal fin
Lateral Line Scales
Chub, Creek49-66
Chub, Hornyhead38-48
Chub, Lake60-67
Dace, Finescale72-89
Dace, Pearl62-75
Dace, Redside62-75
Similarity Index
Chub, CreekVery similar
Chub, HornyheadModerately similar
Chub, LakeVery similar
Dace, FinescaleModerately similar
Dace, PearlN/A
Dace, RedsideModerately similar
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