Minnow, the common name of many small cyprinodont fishes, of the genera fundulus (Lacep.) and hydrargyra (Lacep.). In fundulus the upper surface of the head is flattened; fine card-like teeth upon the jaws, and short ones on the posterior part of the hyoid arch, with opposite velvet-like patches on the roof of the mouth; no teeth on palate or vomer; branchial rays five; dorsal opposite the anal, and caudal rounded; upper surface and sides of head covered with scales. The common minnow, or "cobbler" of the young smelt fishers (F. imculentus, Cuv. and Val.), is from 1 to 5 in. long; the females are of a uniform brown color; the males with lighter intervals on the sides arranged like transverse bands, the dorsal and anal with black dots, and anal slightly emarginated posteriorly, mouth protractile, and upward when closed. It abounds about the salt marshes of the northern and middle states, and is caught in large numbers in hand nets, as bait for other fish, particularly smelts. - The yellow-bellied minnow (hydrargyra flavula, Storer) is from 1 to 5 in. long; the female is yellowish green above, lighter on the sides, and white beneath, with from one to five longitudinal interrupted black bands extending along the sides from the gill covers to near the tail, where there are three or more indistinct transverse bands.
In this genus the head is more flattened, and the branchial rays are six. It is found in southern New England and New York. - The cyprinoid black-nosed dace (argyrevs atronasus, Heck.) is sometimes called brook minnow. The British minnow of minim (leiiciscus phoximis, Cuv.) rarely exceeds 3 in. in length; it is generally found in the same streams with trout, swimming in shoals.
Minnow (Fundulus pisculentus).