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For information on Wisconsin's rare vertebrate animals, contact:
Rich Staffen
Conservation Biologist
For information on Wisconsin's rare invertebrates, contact:
Jay Watson
Conservation Biologist

Ozark Minnow (Notropis nubilus)



Ozark Minnow (Notropis nubilus), listed as Threatened in Wisconsin, prefers clear, small to medium, low-gradient streams over bottoms of cobble. Spawning occurs from May through early-August.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Ozark Minnow (Notropis nubilus). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.

Documented locations of Notropis nubilus in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusTHR
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY

Species guidance

Note: a species guidance document is not available at this time. Information below was compiled from publication ER-091.

Identification: Slim, almost round body with prominent black lateral stripe extending to snout tip. Back and upper sides dark olive yellow, belly silvery white. Shiner-like in appearance, but has a long and coiled gut (at least twice the fish's average body length). Adult length: 2.2-3.0 inches (56-75 mm).

Habitat: Prefer clear, small-to-medium-sized streams with slow current and devoid of vegetation. Often seen in protected backwaters near riffles or in pools immediately below riffles where the current slackens and bottom is gravel or rubble.

State Distribution: Mississippi River drainage basin in the following southern tier counties: Grant, Green, Iowa, LaFayette, Rock, Walworth. Plus records from the Red Cedar River basin in Dunn and Washburn counties. A map outlining Pre-1977 and 1997 to Present Distribution is available.

Phenology: School near the bottom in shallow water, less than 8" (30 cm), over gravel. Lay eggs in nests of the horneyhead chub (Nocomis biguttatus), and also frequently hybridize with shiners.

Diet: Ozark minnows eat mainly green algae, blue-green algae and diatoms.

Management Guidelines: Ozark minnows are intolerant of excessive turbidity and siltation. Heavy agricultural use within its range poses threats to their viability. See summary fish management section.



Ozark Minnow

Side view adult.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Ozark Minnow

Side view adult.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Ozark Minnow

Side view adult.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Wildlife Action Plan

Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

Natural community (habitat) associations

The table below lists the natural communities that are associated with Ozark Minnow. Only natural communities for which Ozark Minnow is "high" (score=3) or "moderate" (score=2) associated are shown. See the key to association scores for complete definitions. Please see the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.

Natural community Score
Warmwater streams 3

Ecological landscape associations

The table below lists the ecological landscape association scores for Ozark Minnow. The scores correspond to the map (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None). For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

This map shows the probability of Ozark Minnow occurring in each of Wisconsin's Ecological Landscapes.  Actual scores can be found in the table to the left.

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Landscape-Community combinations of highest ecological priority*

Ecological priorities are the combinations of natural communities and ecological landscapes that provide Wisconsin's best opportunities to conserve important habitats for a given Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The 10 highest scoring combinations are considered ecological priorities and are listed below. More than 10 combinations are listed if multiple combinations tied for 10th place. For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

* Ecological priority score is a relative measure that is not meant for comparison between species. This score does not consider socio-economical factors that may dictate protection and/or management priorities differently than those determined solely by ecological analysis. Further, a low ecological priority score does not imply that management or preservation should not occur on a site if there are important reasons for doing so locally.

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Issues/threats and conservation actions

Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.

Threats/issues and conservations actions for rare animals

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Last revised: Thursday, October 08, 2020