The brook silverside is a slender, translucent fish with a silvery lateral band along the sides. Silversides have two dorsal fins; long, pointed, "beaklike" snouts; and relatively large mouths. The back of this species is pale greenish yellow with silvery reflections; the scales are faintly outlined by black specks. Sides are silvery, with a bright silvery frontal stripe. Belly is silvery-white. Spinous (first) dorsal fin has a narrow, dusky tip; otherwise fins are plain.
Total length: 2 1/2 to 4 inches.
Nearly statewide; not found in the northwest, the Kansas City region, or the north-central parts of the state.
Habitat and Conservation
Prefers clear, warm water with no noticeable current, such as backwaters and overflow pools of large streams. Remains near the surface, never descending more than a few feet. In lakes and reservoirs, typically occurs in coves and along the shore. Second in abundance only to the mosquitofish in standing waters of the Bootheel lowlands.
Young eat microcrustaceans. Adults eat insects.
Spawns from late spring to summer. Eggs attach to vegetation or other substrate by a long filament. Activity regulated by light intensity; very active in daytime and on moon-bright nights; motionless in the dark.
Fun to watch. They can be seen leaping out of the water over and over again, especially on moonlit nights. They will follow a flashlight beam shone onto the water at night.
Controls microcrustaceans and aquatic insects.