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Bullhead

BULLHEAD MINNOW
 

 SCIENTIFIC NAME: Pimephales Vigilax

CHARACTERISTICS: Pimephales vigilax is a robust species blunt, rounded snout and rounded fins. The broad, flat back in covered with small scales. The caudal fin base has a small spot that is separated from the lateral stripe by a pale area, while the dorsal fin has a prominent, dusky blotch near the front. During the spawning season, breeding males darken and develop around nine large breeding tubercles on the snout. The milky white pectoral fins have a black leading edge. In contrast, the pectoral fins on a male bluntnose minnow, P. notatus, are milky white with no black leading edge. In life the back is a pale yellowish olive, the side’s silvery, and the venter white. The snout has a characteristic crescent mark on each side of the upper lip, while the subterminal mouth is somewhat inclined. The lateral line is bent dorsally near its anterior end, which distinguishes this species from the bluntnose minnow.

ADULT SIZE: 1.6 to 3.1 in (40 to 80 mm)

DISTRIBUTION: The bullhead minnow is distributed along the Gulf Coast from the Rio Grande basin in Texas east to the Mobile basin and north throughout the Mississippi basin. It occurs in all Mobile basin rivers and in many tributaries to the Tennessee River drainage.

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: Pimephales vigilax is commonly found in small, slow streams, sluggish backwaters, and large streams and rivers, typically occurring over sand and mud substrates. It apparently tolerates the high turbidity that so often occurs in its riverine habitat. A bottom-living species, it feeds on aquatic insects, algae, and other organisms living in the mud. Spawning is similar to that of other species of Pimephales and in Alabama occurs from the late spring to midsummer.

ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: The bullhead minnow was described by Baird and Girard in 1853.

ETYMOLOGY:
Pimephales means fat head.
Vigilax means watchful.

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

 Note: In Alabama, it is illegal to stock or move any fish, mussel, snail or crayfish to any public water without a permit.

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