Nebraska Game and Parks Commission


Date of this Version

January 1968


Published in TRANSACTIONS of the AMERICAN FISHERIES SOCIETY Volume 97, Number 1, January 1968.Copyright © The American Fisheries Society. Used by permission.


Populations of the fathead minnow, Pimephales promelas, were apparently common throughout the sandhills region of Nebraska, prior to the appearance of the first pioneers, for Aughey (1880) listed the species as part of the native fauna. Current data relating to the distribution (Figure 1) and gross ecology of the species throughout the sandhills, was first collected in 1954 by the authors, with continuous observances recorded since that year. The fathead minnow is a common species throughout the northern great plains and appears to reach its greatest abundance in the shallow, alkaline lakes of Nebraska. Our investigations over the past ten years indicates that• the species is found in about 240 sandhill lakes with population densities variable according to alkalinity content of the lake. Only one monographic report by Izaak (1961) reflects on the life history of the minnow in North America. Adequate information is not available indicating water quality parameters. It is the intent of this paper to describe some of the ecological characteristics that reflect the life history of the fathead minnow in the alkaline sandhill lakes of Nebraska.