Pearl Dace, Semotilus margarita

 pd

Distribution:

map

Description:

Similar in appearance to the lake chub, pearl dace have a cigar shaped body with a more blunt head and slightly subterminal mouth.  Its back is dark olive to black with lighter silvery sides and white belly. The sides will often have brown and black spots.  The dorsal fin (lacks a dark spot) begins behind the pelvic fins and the caudal is slightly forked.  The lateral line is complete with 62 - 78 scales.  The pearl dace has a small barbel located on the premaxillaries, however it can be absent on one or both sides.  The average size of the pearl dace is 3.5 inches but can grow to 6 inches. 

Biology:

The pearl dace habitats are cool bogs, streams, and lakes.  Pearl dace eat a variety of aquatic organisms including plankton, chironomids, and copepods.  The pearl dace is likely to be a forage fish for many larger fish and fish eating birds.  Spawning occurs in the spring to early summer (May - June).  At this time the males take on orange/red colouration on its sides below the lateral line. Spawning sites are in shallow water with sand or gravel substrate.