Species Profile

Redside Dace

Scientific Name: Clinostomus elongatus
Taxonomy Group: Fishes
Range: Ontario
Last COSEWIC Assessment: April 2007
Last COSEWIC Designation: Endangered
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered

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Image of Redside Dace

Redside Dace Photo 1


Information about this species

General Description The Redside Dace (Clinostomus elongatus) is a very colourful minnow. It is a member of the carp and minnow family Cyprinidae and has the following characteristics: Large mouth with a protruding lower jaw Large pectoral fins in males Relatively small scales (59 to 75 lateral scales) Adults develop a wide, bright red stripe along the front half of the body; a bright yellow stripe above extends to near the tail fin Colours brighten during the spring and fade during the late summer and fall Males are more brightly coloured than females Prior to spawning, males develop tubercles on the pectoral .ns and top of the head Maximum length is 12 cm Distribution The Redside Dace has a discontinuous range in North America. In the west, it occurs mainly in Wisconsin with smaller populations in Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa. In the south, it is found in Kentucky and West Virginia, extending northeastward in a wide band through Ohio, Pennsylvania and northcentral New York. Its northern extent includes the Lake Superior drainage in the the upper peninsula of Michigan and the north end of Lake Huron in Ontario where it exists in three tributaries. Its Canadian distribution also includes tributaries of western Lake Ontario, the Holland River (Lake Simcoe drainage), and in Irvine Creek (Lake Erie drainage). The Canadian range comprises roughly 5% of its global range. Habitat and Life History The Redside Dace is a coolwater species found in pools and slow-.owing areas of small headwater streams with a moderate to high gradient. Overhanging grasses and shrubs, as well as undercut banks, are an important part of their habitat, as are instream boulders and large woody debris. Substrate is variable and includes silt, gravel and boulders. Fish mature at around two years of age. In May, spawning occurs in shallow riffle areas and eggs are often deposited in the 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. The lifespan of the Redside Dace is generally four years or less. Diet The Redside Dace is a visual, surface feeder. It often feeds on terrestrial insects, such as adult flies, at the surface of the lake, leaping several cm in the air to catch them. Its large, upturned mouth is well suited to feeding from below the surface. Threats Habitat degradation and loss associated with intensive urbanization is the most important threat to the Redside Dace in Ontario. Contributing factors associated with urban development include changes in the stream structure, such as channel widening and decreased pool depth, removal of bank vegetation that provides cover, food and moderates water temperature, and siltation. Similarly, intensive agricultural practices, such as row cropping and grazing, compromise water quality and habitat of the Redside Dace Similar Species A number of other minnows such as the Northern Redbelly Dace (Phoxinus eos), Finescale Dace (P. neogaeus), Blacknose Dace (Rhinichthys atratulus species complex), and Pearl Dace (Margariscus margarita) also develop a red stripe; however, it extends farther back to the tail.


Recovery Team

Grand River Recovery Team

  • Shawn Staton - Chair/Contact - Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    Phone: 905-336-4864  Fax: 905-336-6437  Send Email

Redside Dace Recovery Team

  • Mark Heaton - Chair/Contact - Government of Ontario
     Send Email



PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

7 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC Assessment and Update Status Report on the Redside Dace (Clinostomus elongatus) in Canada (2007)

    The redside dace is a colourful minnow that reaches a maximum length of 12 cm. In the spring it develops a bright red stripe along the front half of the body and a brilliant yellow stripe above. It is distinguished from other Canadian cyprinids by its very large mouth, protruding lower jaw, and large pectoral fins on the male. It is one of two species in the genus Clinostomus which is currently believed to be most closely related to Richardsonius, a genus of western dace.

COSEWIC Assessments

  • COSEWIC Assessment - Redside Dace (2007)

    Designated Special Concern in April 1987. Status re-examined and designated Endangered in April 2007. Last assessment based on an update status report.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Redside Dace (2007)

    This species is especially sensitive to stream alterations that interfere with flow regimes and lead to increased siltation and water temperatures. It has been lost from 5 of its 24 historic locations, and may now be gone from an additional 5; continuing decline is evident in 8 of the 14 remaining locations. More than 80% of the Canadian distribution occurs in the ‘Golden Horseshoe Region’ of southwestern Ontario where urban development poses the most immediate threat to the continued existence of this species in Canada. The 6 stable populations are on the fringe of urban development in watersheds that are, as yet, relatively undisturbed, but more than 50 % of these locations are in, or adjacent to, areas that are expected to be developed within the next 10 to 15 years.


  • Order Acknowledging Receipt of the Assessments Done Pursuant to Subsection 23(1) of the Act (2016)

    His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, acknowledges receipt, on the making of this Order, of the assessments done pursuant to subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) with respect to the species set out in the annexed schedule.
  • Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act (2017)

    His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, pursuant to subsection 27(1) of the Species at Risk Act, makes the annexed Order Amending Schedule 1 to the Species at Risk Act.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2007 (2007)

    2007 Annual Report to the The Minister of the Environment and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation Workbook on the addition of the Redside Dace to the SARA List (2007)

    Your opinion is being sought to assist the government of Canada in making an informed decision on whether to add the (Redside Dace) to the Schedule 1 (the List of Wildlife Species at Risk) of the Species at Risk Act (SARA). Your input on the impacts of adding this species to the List is important. This workbook has been developed to give you an opportunity to provide Fisheries and Oceans Canada with your feedback, advice, and other comments regarding adding this species to Schedule 1 of SARA (Schedule 1 identifies which species are legally protected under SARA).