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Montana Animal Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Western Silvery Minnow - Hybognathus argyritis

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Global Rank: G4
State Rank: S4

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:
FWP Conservation Tier: 3

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General Description
The western silvery minnow has been recognized as a separate species only since 1971. It is very difficult to field separate from the plains minnow which it is frequently collected with. This native fish is found in perennial streams and rivers in the prairie ecoregions of eastern MT, and is an indicator species of the Medium Warmwater River Fish Assemblage. Western silvery minnows have long intestines, indicating they are adapted for eating plants and detritus as well as other food items. Specimens grow to a size of about 7 inches in length.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Overall very silvery; back dusty or yellowish olive, underside white. The western silvery minnow has 11 to 17 scales across the belly from lateral line to lateral line.

General Distribution
Montana Range



Western Hemisphere Range

 


Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 935

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Relative Density

Recency

 

(Records associated with a range of dates are excluded from time charts)



Migration
Makes spawning run to lower Marias River.

Habitat
Seems to prefer large streams and is less common in creeks and impoundments. Bottom of silt or sand. Showed a preference for pools and backwaters in middle Missouri River study.

Food Habits
Feeds mainly on bottom ooze containing a variety of algae, organic materials and some invertebrates.

Reproductive Characteristics
Sexually mature at 1 yr. Spawning occurs June - July on middle Missouri River with peak occuring late June - early July.

References
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Citation for data on this website:
Western Silvery Minnow — Hybognathus argyritis.  Montana Field Guide.  Montana Natural Heritage Program and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  Retrieved on April 21, 2014, from http://FieldGuide.mt.gov/detail_AFCJB16010.aspx
 
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