Silverjaw Minnow: 21 Facts You Won't Believe!

Silverjaw Minnow Fact File

The silverjaw minnow (Ericymba buccata) belongs to the Notropis buccatus genus, which gets its common name from the Silver coloration along its jaw. The Notropis buccatus does not change their appearance during the mating season, which occurs from March to June. They have a very far and wide distribution across North America. Their scientific name, Ericymba buccata, has an interesting etymology. Ericymbathe the Latin word meaning 'cavity' and the word buccata meaning 'cheek'.

If you liked reading this facts article, you could also try reading our rasbora facts and African Pompano facts.

Silverjaw Minnow

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Mayflies, water fleas, non-biting midges

What do they eat?


Average litter size?


How much do they weigh?

0.17-1.2 oz (5-35g)

How long are they?

2-3 in (5-7.6 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?


Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Humans, bigger fish

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Streams, rivers


North America





Scientific Name

Ericymba buccata





Silverjaw Minnow Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a silverjaw minnow?

The silverjaw minnow is a fish that inhabits and feeds in the bottom of the stream or river. They often tend to feed in schools with the bluntnose minnows and central stone rollers, eating the insect larvae that are exposed as the other two minnows feed on mats of algae distribution across the bottom of the river bed.

What class of animal does a silverjaw minnow belong to?

The silverjaw minnow is a fish species of the minnows belonging to the genus Ericymba and class Actinopterygii.

How many silverjaw minnows are there in the world?

The exact number of silverjaw minnow is not mentioned but as their conservative status is Least Concern, it is found in quite adequate numbers.

Where does a silverjaw minnow live?

The minnow Notropis buccatus or the silverjaw minnow is native to the northern and southern freshwaters of the United States. The northern range extends from eastern Missouri to Maryland, extending to the southern Great Lakes and to the Cumberland River Drainage in Tennessee. These fishes are native to Chesapeake bay, Ohio River, Mississippi River, and Atlantic Coastal tributaries.

What is a silverjaw minnow's habitat?

Silverjaw minnows (Ericymba buccata) live in large schools. They live at the bottom of shallow streams, freshwater creeks, and rivers with sandy or gravel beds. They are clearwater fishes and like the continuous moving water of riffles. These fish like to live in small to medium-size rivers with moderate flow.

Who do silverjaw minnows live with?

Minnows, like most fishes, like to live in groups or schools. The silverjaw minnow feeds with their schools along with other minnows.

How long does a silverjaw minnow live?

A Notropis buccatus, commonly known as a silverjaw minnow, has a lifespan of three to four years.

How do they reproduce?

The silverjaw minnow (Notropis buccatus) is a species of silvery minnow that has a life span range of three to four years. Spawning normally occurs like other similar fishes where the female lays the eggs, and the males fertilize the eggs from outside. The distribution of the eggs is along the bottom of the river on the sand or gravel, and the eggs hatch between late spring and late summer. The young ones grow during the second and the third summer and stop during fall due to the slowed metabolism rate during the winter months. Their spawning occurs after the first year. The spawning of the adults generally takes place during the spring, but for the previous year, offspring spawning occurs in July.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of silverjaw minnows (Ericymba buccata) is of Least Concern according to the IUCN as they are found in numbers quantities in freshwater streams or rivers.

Silverjaw Minnow Fun Facts

What do silverjaw minnows look like?

*Please note that this image is of a fathead minnow, not a silverjaw minnow. If you have an image of a silverjaw minnow, please let us know at

Silverjaw minnows are commonly used fish bait by fishermen.

The minnow silverjaw is a species of minnows belonging to the genus Ericymba of the family Cyprinidae. It is a silvery soft-rayed fish with its fifth-gill arch containing one or two rows of teeth. It has a lateral line system with many silver-white pores connecting to an internal canal that help them detect their prey. Their eyes are atop their head, pointing upwards, and the underside of their head is flattened. These fish don't really have teeth or jaws as part of the head. They have breast scales that distinguish them from the long-jaw minnow. Their dorsal fin is over the pelvic region, where their ventral fins are located. Their long snout projects them as bottom feeders as these sensory organs help them decide what they are going to feed on. These are the characteristics they are recognized by.

How cute are they?

The silver jaw minnows are fairly cute. In fact, their silvery-white color is very attractive, and this is why they are mostly used as fish bait.

How do they communicate?

It is not known how the silverjaw communicates. They are thought to communicate just like other fishes by gestures and motions. They determine what food they will eat through their sensory organs.

How big is a silverjaw minnow?

The silver jaw minnow grows to be 2-3 in (5-7.6 cm). They are often mistaken for the mimic shiner or the ghost shiner but are actually a bit bigger than them. Both of them belong to the family Cyprinidae.

How fast can a silverjaw minnow swim?

They have pretty normal speed, just like the other fish, fast enough to escape their big predators.

How much does a silverjaw minnow weigh?

The silverjaw minnow, or Notropis buccatus, weighs around 0.17-1.2 oz (5-35g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

They don't have any sex-specific names as such.

What would you call a baby silverjaw minnow?

Baby silverjaw minnows are called juveniles or fry.

What do they eat?

The silverjaw minnow, Notropis buccatus, is a bottom feeder that feeds mostly on mayflies, non-biting midges, and water fleas. They feed during the day as well as at night. The four main feeding characteristics of the minnow silverjaw are searching, mouthing, jabbing, digging, and skimming the bottom of the water in search of food. They are selective feeders and feeds only on 50% of benthos organisms. They determine what food to eat through their sensory organs.

Are they eaten by humans?

Yes, the minnow silverjaw are eaten by humans. But mostly, they are used as baits for fishing, and they are considered to be an important food source for larger game fish caught by the fishermen.

Would they make a good pet?

They should not be considered pets as they are mostly used for fishing bait or for consumption.

Did you know...

The pike minnows are the largest native North American minnow species reaching up to 6 ft (1.82 m). The biggest minnow species at up to 10 ft (3.04 m) long and almost 140 lb (63.5 kg) is the giant barb found in South Asia.

The silverjaw minnow's birth process

The silverjaw minnow, Notropis buccatus, or known by their common name, silverjaw minnow reproduces just like other fishes where the female lays the eggs and the males fertilize the eggs from outside. The spawning occurs mostly during July or mid-spring.

Comparisons with other minnow fish

There are different types of minnow species like the Bluntnose minnows, Common shiner, Common Emerald shiner, which is also used as fish baits like the silverjaw minnow but have different characteristics. The only difference between the Emerald shinner and the silverjaw is that the former species have greenish color whereas the latter species has a silvery color. The topminnow is an endangered species of minnow which are primarily found in New Mexico.

Some interesting minnows to check out include the silvery minnow, fathead minnow, golden topminnow, and the cutlips minnow.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our pomfret facts and carp facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable minnow coloring pages.



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