Iowa DNR
River & Stream Biological Monitoring
Fish and Benthic Macroinvertebrate Surveys
Physical Habitat Assessments

Hornyhead Chub Nocomis biguttatus

Leuciscidae (Minnows)
Trophic Class
Is Exotic to Iowa?
Is Lithophilous Spawner?
Is Hybrid?
State Listing Status
Not Listed
Assessment Program Statistics

This species was found at 265 bioassessment sites, 23 rapid fish bioassessment sites, 73 fisheries assessment sites, and 7 fisheries presence-only assessment sites. In total, it was collected at 344 distinct sites, or 23.4% of the 1473 total sites monitored by the bioassessment program. It is the 24th most commonly collected species.

The Hornyhead Chub was collected in 624 bioassessment sampling sessions and 236 fisheries assessment sessions. It was present in 23 rapid bioassessment sessions and 7 presence-only sessions.

The biological assessment program has collected a total of 28,404 individual Hornyhead Chub specimens, ranking it the #16 most collected fish.

Species Characteristics

Stout bodied with a terete body form. Three features set them apart from the Creek Chub. A barbel is present at the posterior end of the jaw. The scales are large, with 38 to 48 in the complete lateral line. The anal fin has 7 rays. Body color is coppery on the back and upper sides, shading to silvery on the sides, and whitish-yellow on the belly. Breeding males have a distinctive carmine-colored patch behind each eye, orange-colored dorsal and anal fins, and the head has a pinkish-bluish wash with prominent white tubercles. Young fish have reddish-colored caudal fins, a distinct lateral band, and a caudal fin spot. These characteristics fade in adulthood. Scales along the back and upper sides may look cross-hatched. Hornyhead Chubs have a large, slightly oblique, and terminal mouth. Hooked pharyngeal teeth on broad arches are arranged in a 1, 4-4, 1 formula. The dorsal fin, inserted slightly behind the pelvic fin, has 8 rays, while pectoral fins have 14 to 16, and pelvic fins have 8 rays.

Species Distribution Maps

HUC12 watersheds where this species has been found