SCIENTIFIC NAME: Labidesthes sicculus

CHARACTERISTICS: The brook silverside is a small, slender species with an elongate caudal peduncle. The top of the head the anterior part of the back are somewhat flattened. A silver stripe extends from the front of the gill cover to the caudal fin and expands at the caudal fin case into a small silver spot. The jaws are long and adapted for feeding at the surface. Live Labidesthes sicculus are greenish yellow, and the outer edge of the sickle-shaped dorsal and anal fins are light lemon yellow. Scales are small, with 74 to 87 scales in the lateral series. The brook silverside"s greater numbers of lateral scales, and fin rays (22 to 25), and predorsal scales (greater than 23) separate it from the similar inland silverside, Menidia beryllina. See Cope (1865a) for original description.

ADULT SIZE: 2.4 to 3.9 in (60 to 100mm)

DISTRIBUTION: Brook silversides are found in Atlantic and Gulf slope drainages from South Carolina to Texas and throughout the Mississippi River basin northward to the Great Lakes. The species is widespread and often abundant below the Fall Line in the Mobile basin. Future sampling of large streams and rivers will likely expand its apparently limited distribution in the Black Warrior River system above the Fall Line. Our collections indicate that brook silversides are widespread in the Tennessee River drainage and in the coastal drainages of Alabama. The lack of records in the Yellow and Blackwater river systems is likely due to inadequate sampling.    

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: Labidesthes sicculus is most common in large rivers, streams, and impoundments near the surface of open waters or quiet areas around piers and boat launches. Reproduction occurs from mid-spring to summer, and spawning takes place in the open water of shallow areas. Males establish loosely defined territories. Adhesive eggs are fertilized in open water and become attached to plants, sticks, or the substrate. Brook silversides consume microcrustaceans, flying insects, and insect larvae (Keast and Webb, 1966; Hubb, 1921). Longevity is reported to be less than two years (Nelson, 1968). 

ORGINAL DESRIPTION: Cope described the brook silverside in 1865.

Labidesthes means forceps to eat, referring to the beaklike jaws on this species.
Sicculus means dried, possibly referring to the temporary pool environments in which this species was originally found.

The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.