Redside Dace

Clinostomus elongatus

SARA Status
No Status
NS
Special Concern
SC
Threatened
TH
Endangered
EN
Extirpated
EX

SARA Status

  • No Status NS
  • Special Concern SC
  • Threatened TH
  • Endangered EN
  • Extirpated EX
COSEWICStatus
Not at Risk
NR
Special Concern
SC
Threatened
TH
Endangered
EN
Extirpated
EX

COSEWIC Status

  • Not at Risk NR
  • Special Concern SC
  • Threatened TH
  • Endangered EN
  • Extirpated EX

Description

The Redside Dace (Clinostomus elongatus) is a very colourful fish in the carp and minnow family (Cyprinidae). Small and brightly coloured, the Redside Dace has the following features:

  • wide, bright red stripe along the front half of the body (adults), with a longer, bright yellow stripe above it;
  • large mouth with a protruding lower jaw;
  • relatively small scales;
  • coloured stripes that brighten during spring spawning and fade during late summer;
  • males are more brightly coloured than females and have larger pectoral fins (the pair of fins behind the head);
  • prior to spawning, males develop tubercles (small, rounded bumps) on the pectoral fins and top of the head; and
  • maximum length of 12 cm.

Habitat

The Redside Dace has a discontinuous range in North America; it is currently found in isolated populations in the southern Great Lakes basin, the upper Mississippi drainage, and the upper Susquehanna River drainage. In Canada, the Redside Dace is found only in Ontario. Most populations are found in streams flowing into western Lake Ontario, although other populations are known from the Holland River system (Lake Simcoe drainage), Irvine Creek (Lake Erie drainage) and the gully creeks and Saugeen River (Lake Huron drainage). The Canadian distribution of the Redside Dace accounts for less than 10 per cent of its global range and populations of this minnow have declined from historical numbers in many areas throughout its range.

The Redside Dace is a coolwater minnow found in pools and slow-flowing areas of small and clear headwater streams over substrates (stream bottoms) of silt, gravel or boulders. Overhanging grasses and shrubs, as well as undercut banks, are an important part of their habitat, as are in-stream boulders and large woody debris. In May, spawning occurs in shallow riffle areas and eggs are often deposited in the gravel nests of other minnows. There is no parental care; however, the nest-guarding male and the nest itself may provide some protection to the eggs. Fish grow quickly and mature at around two years of age. The lifespan of the Redside Dace is generally four years or less.

Threats

More than 80 per cent of the Redside Dace found in Canada occurs in the Greater Toronto Area of southern Ontario, making urban development its most serious threat. Habitat degradation and loss may result from changes in stream structure, such as channel widening, reservoir construction and decreased pool depth. As well, the removal of stream bank vegetation reduces food sources, bank stability and overhead cover, leading to impacts to water temperature and siltation. Similarly, intensive agricultural practices, such as row cropping, grazing, and use of pesticides and herbicides, threaten the water quality and habitat of the Redside Dace.

Further Information

The Redside Dace and its habitat are protected under Ontario's Endangered Species Act, 2007, and it cannot be used as bait under the fishing regulations of Ontario.

An Ontario provincial recovery strategy has been prepared by a recovery team consisting of representatives from the provincial and federal governments, conservation authorities, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Toronto Zoo, and Ontario Streams. The recovery strategy provides a framework for action for responsible jurisdictions and others to secure the persistence and sustainability of Redside Dace in Ontario.

For more information, visit the Species at Risk (SARA) Public Registry Profile.

Redside Dace

Redside Dace

© Ellen Edmonson, NYSDEC

Scientific name: Clinostomus elongatus
SARA Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
Region: Ontario

distribution of Redside Dace

Map showing the distribution of Redside Dace in Canada.

Did You Know?

The Redside Dace is a visual, surface feeder. Its large, upturned mouth is well suited to catching insects, such as adult flies, at the water surface or from overhanging vegetation. Sometimes, the Redside Dace will even jump several centimetres into the air to catch its insect prey.

Redside Dace

Photo credit: K. Schmidt

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