Species Profile

Plains Minnow

Scientific Name: Hybognathus placitus
Other/Previous Names: Hybognathus placitis
Taxonomy Group: Fishes
Range: Saskatchewan
Last COSEWIC Assessment: May 2012
Last COSEWIC Designation: Threatened
SARA Status: No schedule, No Status

Individuals of this species may be protected under Schedule 1 under another name; for more information see Schedule 1, the A-Z Species List, or if applicable, the Related Species table below.


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Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Distribution and Population | Habitat | Threats | Protection | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Plains Minnow

Plains Minnow Photo 1

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Description

The Plains Minnow (Hybognathus placitus) is a member of the Cyprinidae family. The Plains Minnow is one of four species of Hybognathus found in Canada. It has the following characteristics and distinguishing features: A small-sized fish between 50 and 90 millimeters in total length, with some specimens as large as 125 millimeters; Slim, slightly compressed body; Short triangular head; Blunt snout; Relatively small eyes; Fins tend to be pointed, rather than rounded; Body colour is tan to olive towards the back, silver along the sides and white along the belly; Maximum weight of 15 grams; Spawning males develop small bumps (tubercles) on the top of the head and back, as well as on the pectoral fin. Individuals can live up to two to three years.

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Habitat

The Plains Minnow has a widespread distribution in the United States, occurring in the middle of the continent from eastern New Mexico, central Texas and western Arkansas, north to North Dakota and Montana. The existence of the Plains Minnow in Canada was discovered in 2003 in southern Saskatchewan, with its distribution limited to Rock Creek and a portion of one of its tributaries, Morgan Creek. The Plains Minnow lives in schools, and is found in sand-and silt-bottom rivers and streams of the Central Great Plains. Found in a range of small creeks to fairly large rivers, the Plains Minnow prefers slow, relatively shallow to moderately deep waters with a range of turbidity. Many of these small- to medium-sized streams experience natural seasonal fluctuations, from drought conditions to flash floods and heavy precipitation, indicating a high level of adaptation in withstanding natural changes in water quality. Spawning takes place in areas of moderate flow to maximize the downstream distribution and incubation of the fertilized eggs. As the discovery of the Plains Minnow in Canada is relatively recent, the majority of the information about its life history is based on U.S. populations. The Plains Minnow lives for about two to three years, and breeds for the first time in its second year. Many individuals die after spawning. The Plains Minnow has an extended spawning period, frequently reproducing after major flow peaks. The majority of reproduction takes place in spring; however, it has also been recorded in the summer. Females carry less than 1,000 eggs. Once hatched, growth takes place quickly and juveniles nearly reach their adult size by the end of their first summer.

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Threats

This fish has a very limited distribution in Canada, and has only been found in one area of southern Saskatchewan. At the northern extent of their range, this region of southern Saskatchewan is subject to drought, temperature extremes, decreasing habitat quality from agricultural runoff and potential effects of invasive species (such as the Common Carp).

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Protection

Federal Protection

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Documents

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.

5 record(s) found.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC assessment and status report on the Plains Minnow Hybognathus placitus in Canada (2013)

    The Plains Minnow (Hybognathus placitus) is the most geographically restricted of the four species within its genus in Canada. It is a small, silvery minnow with a slightly compressed body and a blunt, triangular head. Proper identification of the silvery minnows is difficult in the field and definitive identification often requires laboratory dissection of the posterior process of the basioccipital bone, a key character used for separating the species. The Plains Minnow can attain a maximum length and weight of 125 mm and 15 g, respectively, and individuals can live up to 3 years.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Plains Minnow (2013)

    This small fish has a very limited distribution in Canada at only one or two locations, both of which are small streams subject to drought. The species requires long stretches of flowing water to complete its life cycle. Further threats to water supply from additional irrigation dams and excessive drought would increase risks to this species.

Action Plans

  • Multi-species Action Plan for Grasslands National Park of Canada (2016)

    The Multi-species Action Plan for Grasslands National Park of Canada applies to lands and waters occurring within the boundaries of Grasslands National Park of Canada (GNP). The plan meets the requirements for action plans set out in the Species At Risk Act (SARA s.47) for species requiring an action plan and that regularly occur at this site. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur at GNP.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2011-2012 (2012)

    Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings in this reporting year (September 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012) from November 21 to 25, 2011 and from April 29 to May 4, 2012. On February 3, 2012, an Emergency Assessment Subcommittee of COSEWIC also assessed the status of the Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus), the Little Brown Myotis (Myotis lucifugus), and the Northern Myotis (Myotis septentrionalis). During the current reporting period COSEWIC assessed the status or reviewed the classification of 67 wildlife species. For species already found on Schedule 1 of SARA, the classification of 32 species was reviewed by COSEWIC and the status of the wildlife species was confirmed to be in the same category (extirpated - no longer found in the wild in Canada but occurring elsewhere, endangered, threatened or of special concern). The wildlife species assessment results for the 2011-2012 reporting period include the following: Extinct: 1 Extirpated: 4 Endangered: 29 Threatened: 10 Special Concern: 15 Data Deficient: 2 Not at Risk: 6 Total: 67 Of the 67 wildlife species examined, COSEWIC reviewed the classification of 49 species that had been previously assessed. The review of classification for 26 of those species resulted in a confirmation of the same status as the previous assessment (see Table 1a).

Consultation Documents

  • The Plains Minnow (2013)

    The Plains Minnow lives in schools, and is found in sand and silt-bottom rivers and streams of the Central Great Plains. Found in a range of small creeks to fairly large rivers, the Plains Minnow prefers slow, relatively shallow to moderately deep waters with a range of turbidity. Many of these small-to-medium-sized streams experience natural seasonal fluctuations, from drought conditions to flash floods and heavy precipitation, indicating a high level of adaptation in withstanding natural changes in water quality. Spawning takes place in areas of moderate flow to maximize the downstream distribution and incubation of the fertilized eggs.  The Plains Minnow lives for about two to three years, and breeds for the first time in its second year. Many individuals die after spawning. The Plains Minnow has an extended spawning period, frequently reproducing after major flow peaks. The majority of reproduction takes place in spring; however, it has also been recorded in the summer.  Females carry less than 1,000 eggs. Once hatched, growth takes place quickly and juveniles nearly reach their adult size by the end of their first summer.