Above is a drawing of a male Northern Redbelly Dace, depicted with the red belly indicating the individual is ready for spawning.
The Northern Redbelly Dace is a freshwater minnow species that grows to approximately 1-3 inches in length.
The species is most easily identified, both male and female, by the two dark longitudinal (length-wise) stripes that extend from gill to tail, as well as their terminal mouth placement. The scales of this minnow are extremely small and thus hard to individually distinguish to the human-eye.
Most of the year, the underbelly and side colors of this species ranges from yellow to silver. As water temperatures rise during spawning season, the males that are ready to spawn, show off the characteristic red/orange belly stripe as shown above. Northern Redbelly Dace may spawn more than once per year, with the spawning season extending from late spring into late summer.
Northern Redbelly Dace are omnivorous; feeding on a combination of algae, vegetation, small invertebrates, as well as detritus in the water column. The species is a sight-feeder, meaning they exclusively rely their sense of sight to hunt and eat. This means certain water quality characteristics such as temperature and turbidity are crucial to the success of this species in an environment. The Northern Redbelly Dace Recovery monitors water quality weekly at past and future release sites, in order to ensure the site is suitable to sustain a long-term population of this endangered aquatic species.