Plants and Animals

Opsopoeodus emiliae Pugnose minnow

Key Characteristics

The pugnose minnow is a small (average of 5 cm), silver minnow with a distinct lateral band running from the tail through the eye to the upturned mouth. The scales are large with fewer than 50 in the lateral line. The dorsal fin has 9 rays.

Status and Rank

US Status: No Status/Not Listed
State Status: E - Endangered (legally protected)
Global Rank: G5 - Secure
State Rank: S1 - Critically imperiled


CountyNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Hillsdale 1 2000
Monroe 2 2014
Wayne 4 1986

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.


The pugnose minnow occurs in slow, clear, vegetated waters of rivers and shallow areas of lakes. This minnow often occurs over sand and organic substrates.

Specific Habitat Needs

Organic matter substrate; macrophytes needed in: Great lake, littoral, midwater; Mainstem stream (3rd-4th order), pool; River (5th-6th order), pool.

Natural Community Types

  • Great lake, littoral, midwater
  • Mainstem stream (3rd-4th order), pool
  • River (5th-6th order), pool

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

Increased siltation and the loss of weedy habitats due to extensive lake management activities have led to a significant decline in this species in Michigan. Remaining populations need to be protected by insuring that the necessary habitat conditions are available. Improving water quality by limiting or stopping drainage, channelization and damming, and encouraging the natural growth of vegetation in shallow water areas may aid in the recovery of the pugnose minnow in Michigan.

Active Period

Spawning from third week of June to fourth week of July

Survey Methods


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

Minnow traps

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


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

Trap nets

Survey Period: From first 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.
  • Carman, S.M. 2001. Special Animal Abstract for Opsopoeodus emiliae (Pugnose minnow). Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lansing, MI. 2pp.
  • Evers, D.C. 1994. Endangered and Threatened Wildlife of Michigan. The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor. 412pp.
  • Page, L. M. and B.M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes: North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 432pp.
  • Trautman, M.B. 1981. The Fishes of Ohio. Ohio State University Press, Columbus. 782pp.

More Information