Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Description: This small (2 inches, 40-55 mm) species has a black, olive to dark brown back. It is silver, cream to brilliant red (breeding males) below the dark band on its side. Breeding fish have yellowish fins.
Habitat and Habits: The northem redbelly dace prefers spring-fed streams in the Big Sioux, Minnesota, Niobrara and Crow Creek drainages in South Dakota. It feeds on algae, zooplankton and immature aquatic insects. Spawning occurs from late spring through summer in mats of algae or aquatic plants. Eggs hatch in 8-10 days.
Distribution: This species is found in the northem United States and Canada in boggy lakes, creeks and ponds. It is often found in tea-colored, slightly acidic water. It has been documented in South Dakota in Brookings, Buffalo, Deuel, Grant, Todd and Tripp Counties.
Conservation Measures: The northem redbelly dace is threatened by any activity adversely affecting the spring-fed streams it inhabits.