northern pearl dace

Northern Pearl Dace (Margariscus nachtriebe)

The northern pearl dace is a stout-bodied minnow that reaches lengths of up to 6 inches, 3-4 inches being average. It is dusky mottled on the upper sides and silvery on the lower sides. During the breeding season, males have a pink to red-tinted stripe along their lower sides, and the upper sides of the pectoral fins bear paired rows of small, sharp tubercles. This fish can be found in the cool, boggy waters of lakes and ponds and in the cold headwater streams often associated with trout. It spawns in stream from late spring to early summer. No nest is built, but the small spawning area is guarded by the male. Northern earl dace are forage fish for larger sport fishes in some waters. They feed on aquatic insects, free-floating animal plankton, and a variety of other small aquatic organisms.


Distribution of the northern pearl dace in NY state.

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