Minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus)

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Minnow
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Minnow fact file

Minnow description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassActinopterygii
OrderCypriniformes
FamilyCyprinidae
GenusPhoxinus (1)

The minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus) is a small, lively freshwater fish, with a greenish-brown back (2), which features darker spots that form an attractive 'banded' effect (3). It has fairly large eyes, a small mouth and a blunt nose (2). During the spawning season, males develop spectacular colours; the back becomes dark, the sides golden and the belly and lower fins turn bright red (2).

Also known as
Eurasian minnow.
Size
Length: 6-10 cm (2)
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Minnow biology

The minnow lives in groups and feeds on plant debris, algae, molluscs, insects and crustaceans (4). The spawning season lasts from April to June (2); during this time they undertake short upstream migrations to spawn in shallow, gravelly areas (4).

The minnow is an important component of the diet of larger fishes, including the brown trout (Salmo trutta fario), as well as many water birds (3). This species is a good 'indicator' of the quality and oxygen content of streams and rivers (2).

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Minnow range

The minnow is found throughout much of Europe, from Britain to eastern Spain and eastern Siberia (4). It is widespread in Britain, but is absent from north Scotland (2).

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
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Minnow habitat

Inhabits clean streams and rivers that have either a sandy or stony bed (2), in cold, running or still water that is well oxygenated (4). The minnow reaches altitudes of 2000 metres, and has been found in some lakes (2).

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Minnow status

The minnow is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern

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Minnow threats

The minnow is threatened by pollution and excessive stocking of salmon species (1).

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Minnow conservation

Conservation action has not been targeted at the minnow (1).

There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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Find out more

For more information on the minnow:

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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

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Glossary

Algae
Simple plants that lack roots, stems and leaves but contain the green pigment chlorophyll. Most occur in marine and freshwater habitats.
Crustaceans
Diverse group of arthropods (a phylum of animals with jointed limbs and a hard chitinous exoskeleton) characterised by the possession of two pairs of antennae, one pair of mandibles (mouthparts used for handling and processing food) and two pairs of maxillae (appendages used in eating, which are located behind the mandibles). Includes crabs, lobsters, shrimps, woodlice and barnacles.
Molluscs
A diverse group of invertebrates, mainly marine, that have one or all of the following; a horny, toothed ribbon in the mouth (the radula), a shell covering the upper surface of the body, and a mantle or mantle cavity with a type of gill. Includes snails, slugs, shellfish, octopuses and squid.
Spawning
The production or depositing of large quantities of eggs in water.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (March, 2011)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. Cihar, J. (1991) A field guide in colour to freshwater fish. Silverdale Books, Leicester.
  3. Buczacki, S. (2002) Fauna Britannica. Hamlyn, London.
  4. Fishbase species account (Jan 2003):
    http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?genusname=Phoxinus&speciesname=phoxinus
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Image credit

Minnow  
Minnow

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