Western Blacknose Dace
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult.
  • Top view adult (breeding male with tubercles).
  • 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 of breeding male (notice tubercles).
  • Close-up anal fin of breeding male (notice tubercles).
  • Close-up pectoral fin.
  • Close-up pelvic fin of breeding male (notice tubercles).
  • The upper lip and jaw are connect. There is no groove. Notice the frenum.
  • The blacknose dace has 60-75 lateral line scales and mottled sides.
  • The snout is slightly overhanging with a subterminal mouth.
  • Lips are fleshy with small barbels at the corners.
  • Breeding males develop an orange/red lateral stripe.
  • Breeding males develop tubercles.
  • Side view young-of-year: Juveniles are similar to adults, but with a more pronounced lateral stripe.
DescriptionSimilar Species
Minnows (Cyprinidae)
Mouth and Snout: Mouth subterminal without any teeth. Inconspicuous barbels at corners of mouth. Thick fleshy lips with frenum connecting snout to upper lip. Snout only slightly overhangs mouth. Body Pattern: Sides brown, dark olive, or dark silver with blotches and mottling, sometimes coalescing into an irregular stripe posteriorly. Cream or yellow-white on belly. Fins lightly pigmented. Body Shape: Fusiform, almost round in cross-section, with the ventral area slightly dorso-ventrally flattened. Typical adult size is 75-100 mm TL (3-4 in), with a maximum of 125 mm (5 in).
Forked tail. Single dorsal fin with 8 rays and no spines. Pelvic fin abdominal. No adipose fin. Anal fin with 7 rays and no spines.
Distinguishing Characteristics
The blacknose dace can be distinguished by its subterminal mouth with fleshy lips and inconspicuous barbels at the corners. Frenum connecting upper upper lip to snout. Compared to longnose dace, snout only slightly overhangs mouth and body is deeper, less elongated and more robust. 60-75 cycloid lateral line scales. About 52 scale rows around body. See also similar species information.
Breeding Adults
Males have small tubercles on head, scales, and pelvic fins. Reddish lateral stripe.
Similar to adults, but typically lateral stripe more pronounced, caudal spot present.
None know from Wisconsin.
Compare Similar Species
Chub, GravelSubterminal mouth; thin fleshy lips; no frenum
Chub, ShoalInferior mouth; thin fleshy lips; no frenum
Chub, SilverSubterminal mouth; thin fleshy lips; no frenum
Dace, Blacknose WesternSubterminal mouth; thick fleshy lips; frenum present
Dace, LongnoseInferior mouth; thick fleshy lips; frenum present
Minnow, SuckermouthInferior mouth; thick fleshy lips; no frenum
Stoneroller, CentralSubterminal mouth; ridge on lower jaw; no frenum
Stoneroller, LargescaleSubterminal mouth; ridge on lower jaw; no frenum
Sucker, WhiteInferior mouth; thick fleshy lips; no frenum
Chub, GravelInconspicuous
Chub, ShoalShort but conspicuous
Chub, SilverInconspicuous
Dace, Blacknose WesternInconspicuous
Dace, LongnoseInconspicuous
Minnow, SuckermouthNone
Stoneroller, CentralNone
Stoneroller, LargescaleNone
Sucker, WhiteNone
Body Pattern
Chub, GravelX, W, & Y markings
Chub, ShoalPepper-like spots
Chub, SilverSolid silver
Dace, Blacknose WesternMottled and/or lateral stripe
Dace, LongnoseMottled and/or lateral strip
Minnow, SuckermouthLateral stripe (may be faint)
Stoneroller, CentralMottled and/or lateral stripe
Stoneroller, LargescaleMottled and/or lateral stripe
Sucker, WhiteSolid, spotted, or mottled
Lateral Line Scales
Chub, Gravel38-43
Chub, Shoal36-40
Chub, Silver37-47
Dace, Blacknose Western60-75
Dace, Longnose61-75
Minnow, Suckermouth43-51
Stoneroller, Central47-58
Stoneroller, Largescale41-48
Sucker, White39-115
Circumferential Scales
Chub, Gravel~ 32
Chub, Shoal~ 28
Chub, Silver~ 28
Dace, Blacknose Western~ 52
Dace, Longnose~ 54
Minnow, Suckermouth~ 34
Stoneroller, Central38-50
Stoneroller, Largescale29-38
Sucker, White~32-~90
Dorsal Rays
Chub, Gravel8
Chub, Shoal8
Chub, Silver8
Dace, Blacknose Western8
Dace, Longnose8
Minnow, Suckermouth8
Stoneroller, Central8
Stoneroller, Largescale8
Sucker, White9-15
Similarity Index
Chub, GravelModerately similar
Chub, ShoalModerately similar
Chub, SilverModerately similar
Dace, Blacknose WesternN/A
Dace, LongnoseVery similar
Minnow, SuckermouthModerately similar
Stoneroller, CentralModerately similar
Stoneroller, LargescaleModerately similar
Sucker, WhiteModerately similar
Sucker, WhiteAll suckers at the juvenile stage (Catostomidae: Catostomus, Hypentelium, Minytrema, Moxostoma) are moderately similar and all criteria as described for the white sucker apply.