Common name: Bullhead Minnow
Synonyms and Other Names: Ceratichthys vigilax, Ceratichthys perspicuus, Pimephales vigilax vigilax, and Pimephales vigilax perspicuus
available through www.itis.gov
Identification: Complete lateral line, silver peritoneum.Check for rosy red color in mutants sold as bait ()Hubbs et al 2004).
Size: 8.9 cm.
Native Range: Mississippi River basin from western Pennsylvania to Minnesota, and south to Gulf; Gulf Slope drainages from Mobile Bay, Georgia and Alabama, to Rio Grande, Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico. Populations in Rio Grande of New Mexico and western Texas may have been introduced (Page and Burr 1991).
Native to Lake Michigan and Lake Huron tributaries (Hocutt and Wiley 1986)
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 Pimephales vigilax are found here.
Table last updated 2/27/2023
† Populations may not be currently present.
Ecology: In silty streams, feeds on invertebrates (Hubbs et al 2004)
Means of Introduction: Hubbs and Black (1947) noted that the one known locality record for this species in the Osage River system of Kansas, was based on material taken from Jones Pond, Coffee County, and "no doubt represents an introduction from the Neosho River system." This species apparently was introduced into the Kansas River system of eastern Kansas before 1976 (Cross and Haslouer 1984). It was first recorded in the Missouri River in Missouri in 1994, apparently the result of dispersal of populations introduced into the Kansas River system of Kansas (Pflieger 1997). It is uncertain if the records from the Missouri River drainage in Nebraska and South Dakota (and also Iowa) are valid, and, if valid, if they represent introductions (see discussion in Remarks section). Hubbs and Black (1947) stated that the single record (under the name Ceratichthys perspicuus) from Lake St. Marys (Great Lakes drainage) in Ohio should be considered valid. These researchers also mentioned that M. B. Trautman suspected it of being a bait introduction. Maintaining that same position years later, Trautman (1981) stated that the Lake St. Marys record "probably was an escape from the minnow bucket of a fisherman." He also remarked that by 1945 it was of common occurrence in the tanks of commercial bait dealers in Ohio. In their summary table on fishes of the Great Lakes basin, Bailey and Smith (1981) indicated that Pimephales vigilax perspicuus had colonized tributaries of Lake Erie recently via canal or by natural dispersal following introduction. Sublette et al. (1990) stated that it was introduced to the Rio Grande drainage of New Mexico during and since the 1970s. The possible method of introduction was not discussed. Similarly, Hubbs et al. (1991) did not provide explanation for its apparent introduction into the Rio Grande and the Red and Canadian river drainages in Texas. Presumably these were by bait-bucket release or stock contaminants. According to Sigler and Miller (1963), Pimephales vigilax vigilax was accidentally introduced into the Sevier River drainage in Utah in 1953 along with several thousand channel catfish received from San Angelo, Texas. Sigler and Sigler (1987) indicated that it was introduced to Utah Lake, Utah, in 1969, but these authors did not provide additional details. The first record of this species in the Fox River, Wisconsin, is based on nine specimens taken in July 1960. Johnson and Becker (1980) and Becker (1983) suspected that the fish entered that drainage from the Mississippi River basin via the old Fox-Wisconsin Canal at Portage, also known as the Portage Canal. The Menomonee River record is based on a report from the early 1900s. Greene (1935, cited by Becker 1983) suggested that the record may have been based on a bait bucket release, or a recent immigrant via highwater connections between the Rock and Milwaukee river systems.
Status: Established in Kansas, New Mexico and Texas; possibly established in western Missouri; reported from Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah, and Wisconsin. Sigler and Miller (1963) were uncertain if the fish became established in the Servier River drainage of Utah. In reference to the Utah Lake introduction, Sigler and Sigler (1987) noted that it may be reproducing in small inlet streams but its presence had not been reported recently. In their Appendix on Utah fishes, Sigler and Sigler (1996) noted that the species is no longer found in Utah.
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.
References: (click for full references)
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.
Leo Nico, and R. Sturtevant
Revision Date: 9/12/2019
Peer Review Date: 2/6/2015
Leo Nico, and R. Sturtevant, 2023, Pimephales vigilax (Baird and Girard, 1853): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=623, Revision Date: 9/12/2019, Peer Review Date: 2/6/2015, Access Date: 6/8/2023
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.