• Family: Cyprinidae (Minnows and carps)
• Other Names: None
• Ohio Status: No special status
• Adult Size: Typically 2-3 inches, can reach 4 inches.
• Typical Foods: Insect larvae and other aquatic invertebrates.
The silverjaw minnow is a small silvery minnow with distinctive head features. The ventral and lower sides of the head have silvery streaks or spaces that reflect the numerous internal tubular channels. These channels are thought to be a series of sensory organs that help the fish detect prey items on and just under the surface of sand. No other Ohio minnow species has this feature. The upper jaw of the silverjaw minnow is longer than the lower jaw. The underside of the head is flattened and the sides of the head angle inward as they go up. The eyes are positioned toward the top of the head so that the pupils can be seen when looking down on the fish. The body is rather silvery in coloration and darker on the back with lighter sides and belly. Silverjaw minnows are most similar to the bigmouth shiner, which has a very similar body shape but lacks the sensory organs. They also superficially look similar to the trout-perch, which is not a minnow and can be separated by the presence of an adipose fin, which all minnows are lacking.
Habitat and Habits
The silverjaw minnow is found throughout Ohio in medium to small streams. They are found almost exclusively in areas with a sandy bottom. They are a very common species where the appropriate habitat is present and large schools of them can be found.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
Silverjaw minnows spawn between April and June in shallow areas above or below gravel riffles over course sand or pea sized gravel.