Native Range: Freshwaters of eastern North America including the St. Lawrence-Great Lakes (except Lake Superior); the Mississippi River basin from southern Quebec to eastern Minnesota and south to Louisiana; and the Atlantic and Gulf slopes from Santee River drainage, South Carolina to Galveston Bay drainage, Texas (Page and Burr 1991).
Native to Lake Erie and Lake Ontario (and their tributaries) and the St. Lawrence and Ottawa rivers. Also native to Lake Michigan tributaries (Hocutt and Wiley 1986). Type specimen for the species was collected in 1865 near Grosse Ile in the Detroit River, Michigan (Cahn 1927).
† Populations may not be currently present.
Ecology: Restricted to clear, weedy lakes – restricted to the top meter of water, usually the top few centimeters. Adapted for living at the surface, usually with their flattened head in contact with the surface film. School during daylight, but disperse at night. The young are extremely temperature sensitive, avoiding waters as little as 0.4oC cooler as well as positively phototropic. These reactions, coupled with a preference for a narrow pH range of 7.65 to 7.7 result in the daily inshore-offshore migrations noted in the fall (Cahn 1927).
Brook Silverside are an annual species. They spawn at age 1 and usually die before reaching 18 months (Marsden et al. 2000). Spawns in spring and early summer, in and around vegetation, esp. Scirpus and Potamogeton. Eggs are orange and attached by an adhesive filament – hatching in 8-9 days. Extremely rapid growth, lifespans rarely exceed 2 years, die after spawning.
Specialized feeder preying on cladocera, small flying insects, and Chaoborus larvae. Feeds with a snapping action, often jumping to capture flying insects (Scott and Crossman 1998). May be important as prey for smallmouth bass (M. dolomieu), cisco (L. artedi) and gar (Lepisosteus osseus) (Cahn 1927).
Means of Introduction: Accidental and bait bucket release as well as canal connections and stocking for forage.
Page and Burr (1991) reported that the species had been introduced, usually into impoundments, as forage for sport fishes. Apparently, therefore, most introductions have been intentional (e.g., Jenkins and Burkhead 1994, and references cited therein). The species was accidentally introduced in Nebraska at the Sutherland cooling pond in July 1979 (Rowe 1992).
Introductions in New York and Vermont are a result of canal connections. Lake Champlain is connected to the Hudson and Mohawk rivers via a canal (Marsden et al. 2000).
References: (click for full references)
Berg, R.E., P.A. Doepke, and P.R. Hannuksela. 1975. First occurrence of the brook silverside, Labidesthes sicculus
, in a tributary of Lake Superior. J. Fish. Res. Board Can. 32:2541-2542.
Cahn, A.R. 1927. An ecological study of southern Wisconsin fishes; the brook silversides (Labidesthes sicculus
) and the cisco (Leucichthys artedi
) in their relations to the region, 11. University of IL, Urbana, IL. https://www.ideals.illinois.edu/handle/2142/25181
Eliopoulos, C. and P. Stangel. 2001. Lake Champlain 2000 status of aquatic nuisance species. Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. Final Report. 6pp.
Hocutt, C.H., R.E. Jenkins, and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. 1986. Zoogeography of the fishes of the central Appalachians and central Atlantic Coastal Plain. Pages 161-212 in C.H. Hocutt and E.O. Wiley, eds. The zoogeography of North American freshwater fishes. John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY.
Hocutt, C.H. and E.O. Wiley. 1986. The Zoogeography of North American Freshwater Fishes.
Hubbs, C.L. and K.F. Lagler. 2004. Fishes of the Great Lakes region. Revised Edition. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.
Jenkins, R.E., and N.M. Burkhead. 1994. Freshwater Fishes of Virginia. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD. 1079 pp.
Marsden, J.E., R.W. Langdon, and S.P. Good. 2000. First occurrence of the brook silverside (Labidesthes sicculus), in Lake Champlain, Vermont. Northeastern Naturalist. 7(3):248-254.
Rasmussen, J.L. 1998. Aquatic nuisance species of the Mississippi River basin. 60th Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, Aquatic Nuisance Species Symposium, Dec. 7, 1998, Cincinnati, OH.
Rowe, J.W. 1992. The sturgeon chub and the brook silverside in the Platte River of Nebraska. Prairie Naturalist. 24(4):281-282.
Schmidt, B., J. Goodwillie, and B. Gaiseb. 2007. Hudson River Almanac August 1 - August 7, 2007 - Natural History Notes. http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/37469.html
Scott, W.B. and E.J. Crossman. 1998. Freshwater fishes of Canada. Galt House Publications, Ltd., Oakville, Ontario, Canada.
Shapovalov, L., A.J. Cordone, and W.A. Dill. 1981. A list of freshwater and anadromous fishes of California. California Fish and Game. 67(1):4-38.
Stauffer, J.R., Jr., J.M. Boltz, and L.R. White. 1995. The Fishes of West Virginia. West Virginia Department of Natural Resources.
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.