Phenacobius mirabilis
Phenacobius mirabilis
(Suckermouth Minnow)
Native Transplant
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Phenacobius mirabilis (Girard, 1856)

Common name: Suckermouth Minnow

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Becker (1983); Hubbs et al. (1991); Page and Burr (1991); Etnier and Starnes (1993); Pflieger (1997).

Size: 12 cm

Native Range: Mississippi River basin from Ohio and West Virginia to Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico, and from southeastern Minnesota to northern Alabama and southern Oklahoma; western Lake Erie drainage, Ohio; isolated populations in Gulf Coast drainages (Sabine Lake, Louisiana and Texas, Galveston Bay, Texas, Colorado River, Texas, and upper Pecos River, New Mexico) (Page and Burr 1991).

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Puerto Rico &
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Guam Saipan
Native range data for this species provided in part by NatureServe NS logo
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: This species has been recorded from (and possibly introduced into) Lake Erie tributaries of Michigan (Bailey and Smith 1992); the Pecos River (Pecos drainage) and the Dry Cimarron River (Canadian drainage) in New Mexico (Sublette et al. 1990); and Buckeye Lake in the Muskingum River drainage (Ohio River basin) and Lake Erie of Ohio (Trautman 1981; Mills et al. 1993).

Means of Introduction: Unknown; possibly the result of bait bucket releases.

Status: Reported from Michigan and New Mexico. Apparently established in Buckeye Lake, Ohio (Trautman 1981).

Impact of Introduction: Unknown.

Remarks: It is not certain if the records of this species from Michigan and parts of Ohio represent introductions or were simply the result of natural dispersal. Phenacobius mirabilis is native to a large part of Ohio; however, Trautman (1981) stated that the population in Buckeye Lake, Ohio, "possibly had been introduced inadvertently from the bait buckets of fishermen." The Suckermouth Minnow did not occur in Michigan, or Ohio and West Virginia for that matter, before the early 1900s; natural eastward dispersal of the species has been rapid, and has occurred as a result of increased water turbidity and siltation following conversion of the prairies to farming. These changes have apparently benefited the Suckermouth Minnow as well as a few other native fishes. In the list of Michigan fishes given Bailey and Smith (1992), P. mirabilis was denoted as one of several fishes "established through the direct or indirect intervention of humans." However, these authors provided no additional details. We interpreted the words of Bailey and Smith (1992) to mean that the species was introduced to Michigan. Nevertheless, the authors may have simply meant that P. mirabilus spread naturally into Michigan as a result of human farming practises and other human-induced changes to the aquatic environment. In their summary table on fishes of the Great Lakes basin, Bailey and Smith (1981) indicated that P. mirabilis had colonized tributaries of Lake Erie recently via canal or by natural dispersal following introduction. Underhill (1986) and Hubbs et al. (2004) made no mention of the possible introduction of this species into the northern United States. Hocutt et al. (1986), apparently based on Cavender and Ciola (1981), stated that it was one of several species that invaded the Muskingum River drainage since 1930. However, in their summary table on fishes of the Central Appalachians and Central Atlantic Coastal Plain, Hocutt et al. (1986) listed P. mirabilis as native to the Muskingum drainage.

References: (click for full references)

Bailey, R.M., and G.R. Smith. 1981. Origin and geography of the fish fauna of the Laurentian Great Lakes basin. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 38(12):1539-1561.

Bailey, R.M. and G.R. Smith. 1992. Names of Michigan Fishes. Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Division, Lansing, MI.

Becker, G.C. 1983. Fishes of Wisconsin. University of Madison Press, Madison, WI.

Cavender, T.M., and C.R. Ciola. 1981. Collection records and distributional atlas of fishes of the Muskingum River basin, Ohio. Final report prepared for the Department of the Army Corps of Engineers, Huntington District, Huntington, West Virginia.

Clearwater, S.J., C.W. Hickey, and M.L. Martin. 2008. Overview of potential piscicides and molluscicides for controlling aquatic pest species in New Zealand. Science & Technical Publishing, New Zealand Department of Conservation, Wellington, New Zealand.

Etnier, D.A., and W.C. Starnes. 1993. The fishes of Tenneessee. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, TN.

GLMRIS. 2012. Appendix C: Inventory of Available Controls for Aquatic Nuisance Species of Concern, Chicago Area Waterway System. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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. 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.

Hubbs, C., R.J. Edwards, and G.P. Garrett. An annotated checklist of the freshwater fishes of Texas, with keys to identification of species. Texas Journal of Science 43(4):1-56.

Hubbs, C.L., K.F. Lagler, and G.R. Smith. 2004. Fishes of the Great Lakes regions. Revised edition. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, MI.

Mills, E.L., J.H. Leach, J.T. Carlton, and C.L. Secor. 1993. Exotic species in the Great Lakes: a history of biotic crises and anthropogenic introductions. Journal of Great Lakes Research 19(1):1-54.

Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. The Peterson Guide Series, vol. 42. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.

Pflieger, W. 1997. The fishes of Missouri. Missouri Department of Environmental Conservation, Jefferson City, MO.

Sublette, J.E., M.D. Hatch, and M. Sublette. 1990. The fishes of New Mexico. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM.

Trautman, M.B. 1981. The fishes of Ohio. Ohio State University Press, Columbus, OH.

Underhill, J.C. 1986. The fish fauna of the Laurentian Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence lowlands, Newfoundland, and Labrador. 105-136 in C.H. Hocutt and E.O. Wiley, eds. The zoogeography of North American freshwater fishes. John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY.

Other Resources:
Great Lakes Water Life

FishBase Summary

Author: Nico, L., J. Larson, T.H. Makled, and A. Fusaro

Revision Date: 7/8/2014

Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016

Citation Information:
Nico, L., J. Larson, T.H. Makled, and A. Fusaro, 2018, Phenacobius mirabilis (Girard, 1856): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL,, Revision Date: 7/8/2014, Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016, Access Date: 1/20/2018

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. [2018]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [1/20/2018].

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