Redside Dace (Clinostomus elongatus)
Minnows of this genus are usually about 3-4 inches long, have a broad, dark band along the lateral line, and have a pointed head with a large mouth. The redside dace (Clinostomus elongotus) is the most common member of this genus in New York. It is known from the Allegheny, Genesee, and upper Susquehanna river systems, from tributaries of Lake Erie, and from scattered populations in the Mohawk River system and nearby tributaries of the Hudson River. A concentration exists in the Oswegatchie and Black river systems but is not present in the St. Lawrence drainage. It is absent from Adirondack waters and the Delaware River system.
Typically found in headwater streams, the redside dace tends to avoid both very warm and extremely cold waters. In these small streams it prefers clear pools with stony bottoms. It occurs in schools that actively search for food during daylight hours.
As spawning season nears in mid-May, males move from pools to gravel spawning beds in or above a riffle (often the nest of a creek chub). Breeding males have a red band from the gills to the base of the dorsal fin. Both sexes develop breeding tubercles, although those of the female are smaller and fewer in number. At the time of actual spawning, the eggs are deposited among the gravel on the bottom of the nest.
Where dace occur in waters inhabited by trout, they compete for food. Both feed on aquatic insects; however, dace are also consumed by larger trout.
Distribution of redside dace in NY state. Dark dots represent where actual samples of redside dace were taken. White dots represent historic distributions.
A 230 KB image of the redside dace is also available for download.
All pictures of this fish were taken out of "The Inland Fishes of New York State" by C. Lavett Smith, published by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 1985.