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

Bullhead Minnow Pimephales vigilax

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 82 bioassessment sites, 0 rapid fish bioassessment sites, 28 fisheries assessment sites, and 0 fisheries presence-only assessment sites. In total, it was collected at 110 distinct sites, or 7.6% of the 1442 total sites monitored by the bioassessment program. It is the 48th most commonly collected species.

The Bullhead Minnow was collected in 116 bioassessment sampling sessions and 33 fisheries assessment sessions. It was present in 0 rapid bioassessment sessions and 0 presence-only sessions.

The biological assessment program has collected a total of 2,204 individual Bullhead Minnow specimens, ranking it the #50 most collected fish.

Species Characteristics

Stout body, which is slightly compressed and has a broad flat area in front of the dorsal fin. They have a shortened, closely attached first soft ray of the dorsal fin and crowded scales in front of the dorsal fin. A prominent dark blotch in the first 4 rays of the dorsal fin helps to identify this minnow. The terminal mouth is slightly oblique and has no barbel. Slender, hooked pharyngeal teeth with elongate cutting edges are arranged in a 4-4 formula. The complete lateral line is slightly decurved with 39 to 44 scales. Dorsal and pelvic fins have 8 rays, while the anal fin has 7 rays, and the pectoral fins have 15 or 16 rays. The body is dusky-green dorsally, shading to silvery sides and belly. A lateral band, which may be faint to dark, ends in a dark spot on the caudal peduncle. Breeding males develop an enlarged, black head with large tubercles on the snout.

Species Distribution Maps

HUC12 watersheds where this species has been found