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Montana Animal Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Creek Chub - Semotilus atromaculatus

Potential Species of Concern

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4

Agency Status


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General Description
The creek chub is native to prairie streams in the extreme eastern part of Montana and is most common in the smaller Perennial Prairie Stream Ecological System. It differs from most minnows in that, similar to trout, the males dig a nest for the spawn and cover the fertilized eggs with stones to protect them. Creek chubs are also more piscivorous than most minnows, readily eating other small fish. In several areas of the U.S., creek chub are used as bait fish. They can attain a length of about 6 inches in Montana and 12 inches elsewhere.

Diagnostic Characteristics
The creek chub is silvery overall, often with purple iridescence; The back is olive and the underside white. Young have a prominent dark midside band extending from the tip of the snout to the tail fin; the band fades on older fish. The black spot at the front of the dorsal fin base is vague or absent in immature specimens. Breeding males usually have a reddish cast. A small, flap-like barbel is located in a groove of the upper lip just above each corner of the mouth, but is sometimes absent. Breeding males have a few pronounced projections on the head and smaller ones on the body and pectoral fins.

Species Range
Montana Range

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Western Hemisphere Range


Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 633

(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)

Creek chubs show a high preference for creek habitat. They are less frequent along the margins of rivers, lakes, and impoundments.

Food Habits
Creek chubs are very carnivorous. The diet includes insects, crayfish, snails, worms, and a considerable amount of fish. Also a small amount of vegetation is consumed.

Reproductive Characteristics
Creek chubs are sexually mature at the end of the 2nd or 3rd growing season. Spawning occurs from late March through June. The male builds the nest and may spawn with several females.

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Citation for data on this website:
Creek Chub — Semotilus atromaculatus.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from