Brook Silverside

Brook silverside side view photo with black background
Scientific Name
Labidesthes sicculus
Atherinidae (silversides) in the order Atheriniformes (silversides and allies)

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.

Other Common Names
Stick Minnow

Total length: 2 1/2 to 4 inches.

Where To Find
image of Brook Silverside Distribution Map

Nearly statewide; not found in the northwest, the Kansas City region, or the north-central parts of the state.

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.

Life Cycle

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.

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Similar Species
About Fishes in Missouri
Missouri has more than 200 kinds of fish, more than are found in most neighboring states. Fishes live in water, breathe with gills, and have fins instead of legs. Most are covered with scales. Most fish in Missouri “look” like fish and could never be confused with anything else. True, lampreys and eels have snakelike bodies — but they also have fins and smooth, slimy skin, which snakes do not.