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

Southern Redbelly Dace Chrosomus erythrogaster

Cyprinidae (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 158 bioassessment sites, 61 rapid fish bioassessment sites, 44 fisheries assessment sites, and 21 fisheries presence-only assessment sites. In total, it was collected at 240 distinct sites, or 17.8% of the 1349 total sites monitored by the bioassessment program. It is the 31st most commonly collected species.

The Southern Redbelly Dace was collected in 293 bioassessment sampling sessions and 118 fisheries assessment sessions. It was present in 61 rapid bioassessment sessions and 29 presence-only sessions.

The biological assessment program has collected a total of 14,103 individual Southern Redbelly Dace specimens, ranking it the #22 most collected fish.

Species Characteristics

One of the most beautiful fish in Iowa. Its body is elongate and almost cylindrical. There are two distinguishing characteristics which set it apart from other minnows. The scales are tiny, almost requiring magnification to be seen. The coloration is unique. A cream-colored lateral band is layered between dark bands on the sides. The top dark band starts at the edge of the opercle and turns into a series of spots on the caudal peduncle. The lower band circles the snout and ends in the basicaudal rays of the tail. There are black dots along the back before the dorsal fin, and the mid-dorsal stripe may also look like a series of dots. Males have purplish-red splotches on the chest, chin, belly, and on the base of the dorsal fin, and their fins are bright yellow. Females vary from plain to washed with pink. The snout is blunt with a terminal mouth, in which the upper jaw slightly extends past the lower jaw. Presence of a barbel is unusual, but at least one population has been found which has barbels on each side of the jaw. There are 65 to 90 scales along the incomplete lateral line. The pharyngeal formula is 5, 5, and the teeth are slender with slight hooks, and occasionally a pattern of 5, 4 may be present. The dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins have 8 rays, and the pectorals have 14 or 15. The intestine is long, with two coils and a loop with a black peritoneum.

Species Distribution Maps

HUC12 watersheds where this species has been found