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.

Melanotaenia nigrans
Melanotaenia nigrans
(black-banded rainbowfish)

Copyright Info
Melanotaenia nigrans (Richardson, 1843)

Common name: black-banded rainbowfish

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Allen (1989); Allen and Cross (1982) provided a summary of most of the known species, including Melanotaenia nigrans. Distinguishing characteristics were also presented by Sterba (1973) and Merrick and Schmida (1984). Color photographs appeared in Merrick and Schmida (1984) and in Axelrod et al. (1985).

Size: 7 cm.

Native Range: Tropical and subtropical Australia. Discontinuous distribution in northeastern drainages of the Timor Sea, Gulf of Carpentaria, and Northeast Coast drainage divisions (Merrick and Schmida 1984).

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 Melanotaenia nigrans are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
IL193019301Lower Kaskaskia

Table last updated 6/16/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: It was supposed that these fish were escapes from a tropical fish establishment (store?) in the St. Louis area, about 40 miles upstream (O'Donnell 1935; Smith 1965). However, an aquarium release cannot be ruled out.

Status: Reported from Illinois. Likely failed introduction, as no specimens have been reported since O'Donnell (1935)

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: The record of O'Donnell (1935) represents one of the earliest accounts of an introduced ornamental fish taken in United States open waters. Specimens were identified by Carl Hubbs (O'Donnell 1935). 

There are no known voucher specimens.

References: (click for full references)

Allen, G.R. 1989. Lake Eacham rainbowfish rediscovered? Fishes of Sahul 5:217-219.

Allen, G.R., and N.J. Cross. 1982. Rainbowfishes of Australia and Papua New Guinea. Tropical Fish Hobbyist Publications, Inc., Neptune City, NJ.

Axelrod, H.R., W.E. Burgess, N. Pronek, and J.G. Walls. 1985. Dr. Axelrod's atlas of freshwater aquarium fishes. Tropical Fish Hobbyist Publications, Inc., Neptune City, NJ.

Merrick, J.R., and G.E. Schmida. 1984. Australian freshwater fishes: biology and management. Griffin Press, Netley, South Australia.

O'Donnell, D.J. 1935. Annotated list of the fishes of Illinois. Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin 20(5):473-500.

Smith, P.W. 1965. A preliminary annotated list of the lampreys and fishes of Illinois. Illinois Natural History Survey, Biological Notes 54.

Sterba, G. 1973. Freshwater fishes of the world. English translation and revision from German. Two volumes. Tropical Fish Hobbyist Publications, Inc., Neptune City, NJ.

FishBase Summary

Author: Nico, L.

Revision Date: 6/28/2019

Peer Review Date: 1/30/2012

Citation Information:
Nico, L., 2024, Melanotaenia nigrans (Richardson, 1843): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=776, Revision Date: 6/28/2019, Peer Review Date: 1/30/2012, Access Date: 6/17/2024

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.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [6/17/2024].

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