The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Notropis dorsalis
Notropis dorsalis
(Bigmouth Shiner)
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
Notropis dorsalis (Agassiz, 1854)

Common name: Bigmouth Shiner

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Three subspecies: N. d. piptolepis, N. d. keimi, and N. d. dorsalis (Page and Burr 1991). Becker (1983); Smith (1985); Page and Burr (1991); Etnier and Starnes (1993).

Size: 8 cm.

Native Range: Great Lakes, Hudson Bay (Red River), and Mississippi River basins from northern Michigan to southern Manitoba, and from eastern Illinois to the Platte River system, eastern Wyoming and northern Colorado; disjunct populations in western New York and Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia, northern Ohio, and western Michigan (Page and Burr 1991). Notropis d. piptolepis is native to the Platte River system in Wyoming and Colorado; N. d. keimi is native to Lake Ontario and Allegheny River drainages in New York and Pennsylvania; and N. d. dorsalis is throughout the rest of the range (Page and Burr 1991).

Native range data for this species provided in part by NatureServe NS logo
Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Notropis dorsalis are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
CO198319862Arkansas-White-Red Region; Fountain
WI193519833Pike-Root; Upper Fox; Wolf

Table last updated 4/19/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Means of introduction into the Arkansas River is not known with certainty, may have been natural or the result of an introduction. Miller (1983) hypothesized that the population found in Monument Creek (Arkansas River drainage) in Colorado may have resulted by way of a bait-bucket transfer from the range of the western subspecies. Becker (1983) speculated that the introduction into the upper Wolf River of Wisconsin was likely due to a bait release since it is unlikely that this minnow could move over the dam at Shawano. He also concluded that recent collections in the Root and Pike river systems are more likely to have resulted from bait bucket releases than by fish crossing the low divide between the headwaters of the Root and Des Plaines rivers. Becker also made reference to the possible passage of this species into the Fox-Wolf system through the connection at Portage. The author was apparently making reference to the Wisconsin-Fox Canal which connects the Wisconsin River to the Lake Michigan drainage, although he apparently did not rule out an earlier, natural connection, that may have existed.

Status: Presumably established in the Arkansas River drainage of Colorado (see Woodling 1985). Established in the upper Wolf watershed of Wisconsin; reported from other localities in Wisconsin outside its native range (Becker 1983).

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

Remarks: Miller (1983) discussed the presence of this species in the Arkansas River drainage of Colorado. He noted that two subspecies of Notropis dorsalis are recognized, one with scales on the nape occurring in the central and eastern parts of the species range and one without scales on the nape from the western part. The specimens from Monument Creek (Arkansas River drainage), Colorado, are referable to the subspecies without scales on the nape. According to Miller (1983), such a finding is counter-intuitive, because if N. dorsalis gained access to the Arkansas River naturally via a past water connection, it should be the other subspecies. As such, Miller suggested the species was introduced to the Arkansas drainage. Nevertheless, Miller stated that the presence of this species in the Arkansas River drainage remains problematical. Except for Miller (1983), the literature is unclear and somewhat contradictory concerning the status of this species in the Arkansas River drainage and in Colorado. Cross et al. (1986) listed it as introduced to the upper Arkansas drainage but did not specify the state. Presumably, their listing of it as introduced is based on the Colorado record of Miller (1983). According to Cross et al. (1986), the upper Arkansas River drainage includes portions of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, and very small section of New Mexico. We are unaware of any records of this species for portions of the Arkansas River drainage outside of Colorado (see for example, Cross 1967; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Cross and Collins 1995). Walker (1993) noted that the Bigmouth Shiner was present in the Arkansas drainage in Colorado, but listed it as native to the drainage. Woodling (1985) provided a map of the species' distribution in Colorado and noted that a population had been found by Miller (see Miller 1984) in Fountain Creek, a tributary of the Arkansas River (El Paso County).

Becker (1983) stated that the occurrence of this fish in the Fox River (Green Lake County) in the Lake Michigan drainage of Wisconsin may have resulted from a crossover at Portage, through either glacial or modern connections. He noted that this species has appeared at a number of sites in the Fox and Wolf river watershed, many of which Becker attributed to passage of fish through the connection at Portage. This species is commonly used as a bait fish in some areas (Beckman 1974; Becker 1983), although Woodling (1985) noted that it is not as hardy as other minnows.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Leo Nico, and Pam Fuller

Revision Date: 3/4/2015

Peer Review Date: 3/4/2015

Citation Information:
Leo Nico, and Pam Fuller, 2024, Notropis dorsalis (Agassiz, 1854): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=593, Revision Date: 3/4/2015, Peer Review Date: 3/4/2015, Access Date: 4/19/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [4/19/2024].

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