E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Rhinichthys falcatus (Eigenmann & Eigenmann, 1893)
Leopard Dace
Family: Cyprinidae
Photo of species

© Mike Pearson  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #78297)

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Source: Distribution map provided by Don McPhail for E-Fauna BC
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Species Information

This species has the snout free from the upper lip. Mouth horizontal, with well developed barbels at the corners of the jaw, narrow caudal peduncle (usually more than 3 times into head length); dorsal and anal fins are falcate; upper lobe of the daudal fin more pointed than in the longnose dace; usually 9 or 10 dorsal rays, 51-63 scales along the lateral line, dark irregular spots covering the back and sides. For further detailed information, refer to McPhail (2008).
Source: McPail, J. D. 2008. The Freshwater Fishes of British Columbia. University of Alberta Press, Edmonton.


Species Biology

Inhabits flowing pools and gravel runs of creeks and small to medium rivers. Also occurs in rocky margins of lakes. Young-of-the-year feed mostly on dipterous larvae; yearlings feed on aquatic insect larvae (mostly Ephemeroptera and Diptera) during the months of June and July switching to terrestrial insects in September; adults more than 2 years also feed on aquatic insect larvae, (Ephemeroptera and Diptera), terrestrial insects, and earthworms (Lumbricus) displaced from the soil (Ref. 1998). Spawning occurs early July (Ref. 1998).

Source: FishBase. Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr 1991 A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 432 p.


BC Distribution and Notes

The leopard dace is a Columbia endemic. It is abundant in gravel deposition reaches along the Fraser River. Curiously, with the exception of the lower Similkameen River, it is not common in the Columbia system. Its rarity in most of the Columbia system may be natural or may be a result of human intervention (dams). Although its general ecology is modestly well known, its reproductive biology is unknown. It is one of the species involved in the evolution, through an ancient hybridization event, of the Umatilla dace. The genetic relationships between leopard and Umatilla dace need more study — based on mitochondrial analyses, some populations group with Umatilla dace rather than with their own species. This may reflect past hybridization.

Source: Information provided by Don McPhail for E-Fauna BC.
Global Distribution

North America: Fraser and Columbia River drainages in British Columbia in Canada, Washington, Oregon and Idaho, USA.

Source: FishBase. Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr 1991 A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 432 p.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeS4YellowNAR (May 1990)
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2024-07-14 12:29:40 AM]
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