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Montana Animal Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Brassy Minnow - Hybognathus hankinsoni

Potential Species of Concern

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4

Agency Status


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General Description
As its name implies, live specimens of the brassy minnow have a greenish-brassy color. This native species lives in warm-cool water prairie streams east of the Continental Divide in Montana. It is more frequently collected in smaller and clearer perennial streams than the western silvery or plains minnow. Close associates found with this species include the brook stickleback, lake chub and northern redbelly dace. Its herbivorous food habits are probably similar to western silvery and plains minnows. Brassy minnows are somewhat smaller than its sister species, only reaching a length of about 4 inches.

Diagnostic Characteristics
The back of the brassy minnow is olive-green to brown, the sides are yellowish or dull silver becoming brassy in adults, and the underside is white. A dusky midside stripe is usually present.

Species Range
Montana Range

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Western Hemisphere Range


Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 696

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

The brassy minnow favors the upper reaches of creeks characterized by no current, silt or mud bottoms, and aquatic vegetation in southeast Montana. They prefer clear, slow streams but have been collected in larger rivers with higher turbidity, and occasionally in lakes.

Food Habits
Brassy minnows are herbivorous. They feed mainly on diatoms and other algae, which it scrapes from the bottom or off aquatic vegetation.

These fish tend to be abundant in habitats with few predators, as they seem to be very vulnerable to fish predation.

Reproductive Characteristics
Brassy minnows probably spawn in the second or third year during May through July.

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Citation for data on this website:
Brassy Minnow — Hybognathus hankinsoni.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from