Blackstripe Topminnow
  • 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 a thick dark lateral stripe, dorsal origin is behind anal origin, the pelvic fins are ahead of dorsal origin.
  • The sides show a thick dark lateral stripe, incomplete vertical bars, and 31-36 lateral line scales.
  • The mouth is superior; there is no bar/blotch below the eye, but there is a groove between upper snout and lip.
  • The mouth is superior and there is a continuous groove between upper snout and lip.
  • Males develop a pronounced incomplete dark vertical bars and a yellowish anal fin.
  • Females do not develop vertical bars, and the margin of the lateral stripe is straight.
  • Males develop partial vertical bars, creating a zig-zag margin of the lateral stripe.
  • Comparison blackstripe topminnow (middle) and starhead topminnow, female (top) and male (bottom): Notice the differences in stripe and bar patterns.
  • Alternative side view of a female.
DescriptionSimilar Species
Killifishes and topminnows (Fundulidae)
Mouth and snout: Superios with small teeth in jaws. No barbels. Body patterning, color, and scales: Olive flanks with a thick dark lateral stripe, sometimes also with incomplete thin dark vertical bars, giving edges of stripe a zig-zag or cross-hatched appearance. Belly cream, yellowish, or white. Paired fins lightly pigmented or clear; anal, dorsal and tail fins with fine spots. Lateral line absent; 31-36 cycloid lateral scales. Body shape and size: Body fusiform and somewhat elongate; round in cross section. Typically 35-60 mm (1.5-2.5 in) TL; maximum in Wisconsin about 75 mm (3 in).
Tail, dorsal and other fins: Rounded tail. Single dorsal with no spines and 8-10 (usually 9) rays. Pelvic fins abdominal. Adipose fin absent. Anal fin with 12 rays.
Distinguishing Characteristics
The blackstripe topminnow can be distinguished by its lack of dark mottling and thick vertical bars, its superior mouth with a continuous groove between the snout and upper lip, and its positioning of the pelvic fin such that all or most of the fin is in advance of the origin of the dorsal fin. See also similar species information.
Breeding Adults
Males may have vertical bars but females do not. Males have larger and more yellow dorsal and anal fins.
Similar to adults.
Compare Similar Species
Lateral Scales
Killifish, Banded39-43
Mosquitofish, Western29-32
Mudminnow, Central34-37
Topminnow, Blackstripe31-36
Topminnow, Starhead30-34
Dorsal Fin Origin
Killifish, BandedAhead of anal origin
Mosquitofish, WesternBehind anal origin
Mudminnow, CentralAhead of anal origin
Topminnow, BlackstripeBehind anal origin
Topminnow, StarheadBehind anal origin
Color and Pigment Pattern
Killifish, BandedSilvery with irregular dark vertical bars (often faint) on flanks; no dark bar or blotch below eye
Mosquitofish, WesternSolid tan or olive, sometimes with fine spots, especially dorsally; dark bar or blotch below eye
Mudminnow, CentralDark olive green to brown black, mottled with up to 14 distinct to vague dark brown vertical bars; belly yellow to white; dark bar or blotch below eye
Topminnow, BlackstripeOlive with thick dark lateral stripe, sometimes with finer incomplete vertical bars giving stripe a zig-zag appearance; no dark bar or blotch below eye
Topminnow, StarheadOlive or silvery with either fine dark vertical bars or lateral stripes (consisting of rows of fine spots); dark bar or blotch below eye
Similarity Index
Killifish, BandedVery similar
Mosquitofish, WesternVery similar
Mudminnow, CentralModerately similar
Topminnow, BlackstripeN/A
Topminnow, StarheadVery similar
Mosquitofish, WesternNot established in WI, but stocked in the past and known from Illinois north of Chicago