Plants and Animals

Clinostomus elongatus Redside dace

species photo
Konrad P. Schmidt

Key Characteristics

The redside dace is a small minnow with a distinct white-yellow band extending from the snout to the tail that separates the dark back of the fish from a distinct red band on the lower side of the fish. It has a large pointed snout, large oblique mouth, and forked caudal fin. The body has small scales and is laterally compressed with a complete, slightly decurved lateral line.

Status and Rank

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: E - Endangered (legally protected)
Global Rank: G3G4 - Rank is uncertain, ranging from vulnerable to apparently secure
State Rank: S2 - Imperiled


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Gogebic 7 2009
Hillsdale 1 1996
Lenawee 2 1993
Oakland 2 2012
Washtenaw 3 2012
Wayne 1 2012

Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Redside dace occur in small streams with moderate to high gradients, adequate overhanging vegetation to provide ample shading of the stream, abundant coarse woody structure, and clean rocky substrates. Redside dace use clean rocky riffles for spawning and pools during non-breeding season.

Specific Habitat Needs

Gravel and sand substrates needed in: Headwater stream (1st-2nd order), riffle; 

Gravel or sandy substrates needed in: Headwater stream (1st-2nd order), run; 

Overhanging vegetation needed in: Headwater stream (1st-2nd order), pool; 

Rocky, gravelly, or sandy needed in: Headwater stream (1st-2nd order), pool; 

Natural Community Types

  • Headwater stream (1st-2nd order), riffle
  • Headwater stream (1st-2nd order), pool
  • Headwater stream (1st-2nd order), run

For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.

Management Recommendations

Strict habitat requirements for the redside dace make it highly susceptible to local extinctions. Riparian vegetation is a key microhabitat element for this species. Changes in the sunlight, temperature, and oxygen regimes of these small streams as a result of land cover changes are detrimental to this species. Hence, maintaining or establishing vegetated riparian buffers and natural flow regimes are important for protecting the redside dace.

Active Period

Spawning from third week of May to fourth week of May

Survey Methods

Sampling effort should be focused in and around overhanging vegetation, in-stream vegetation, and pools.


Survey Period: From second week of April to fourth week of September

Minnow traps

Survey Period: From second week of April to fourth week of September


Survey Period: From second week of April to fourth week of September


Survey References

  • Murphy, B.R. and D.W. Willis, eds. 1996. Fisheries Techniques, 2nd ed. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda. 732pp.

Technical References

  • Bailey, R.M., W.C. Latta, and G.R. Smith. 2004. An Atlas of Michigan Fishes. Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 192, Ann Arbor. 215p.
  • Evers, D.C. 1994. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife of Michigan. The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor. 412pp.
  • Goforth, R.R. 2000. Special Animal Abstract for Clinostomus elongatus (Redside dace). Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing, MI. 2pp.
  • McKee, B.M. and B.J. Parker. 1982. The distribution, biology, and status of the fishes Campostoma anomalum, Clinostomus elongatus, Notropis photogenis (Cyprinidae), and Fundulus notatus (Cyprinodontidae) in Canada. Canadian Journal of Zoology 60:1347-56.
  • Novinger, D.C. and T.C. Coon. 2000. Behavior and physiology of the redside dace, Clinostomus elogatus, a threatened species in Michigan. Environmental Biology of Fishes 57:315-326.
  • Page, L. M. and B.M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes: North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 432pp.
  • Scott, W.B. and E.J. Crossman. 1973. Freshwater fishes of Canada. Bulletin 184, Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Ottawa. 966pp.
  • Trautman, M.B. 1981. The Fishes of Ohio. Ohio State University Press, Columbus. 782pp.