The body of the hornyhead chub is slender, with a rounded snout. The mouth is large, almost terminal, with a small tendril above the jaws, and has pharyngeal (throat) teeth. The hornyhead chub has dark-edged scales, a full lateral line and seven anal rays. Its colouration is bluish-olive on the back, yellowish with iridescent green on the sides and whitish underneath. The adult male has a bright red spot behind each eye. The female has a copper coloured spot. Yellow iridescent stripes run down the back and sides. There is a dark tail patch around the muzzle, which is darkest in juveniles. Breeding males are pink with pinkish-orange fins and have many tubercles on the head. Hornyhead chub can be distinguished from bullhead chub (Nocomis raneyi) by a shorter snout, larger eyes and a red spot behind each eye. Bluehead chub (Nocomis leptocephalus) is very similar but does not have a red spot behind each eye. It also has a large loop on the right side of the belly, which distinguishes it from the hornyhead.
The hornyhead chub is found from New York westward to Wyoming and Colorado and southward to northern Arkansas. In its easternmost range in New York, it is found in the Niagara River and several streams in the Mohawk River system, and inhabits the Susquehanna, Delaware and Hudson Rivers.
This species inhabits small and medium-sized rivers and streams. It prefers warm, clear waters with moderate to slow currents, especially with sandy, rocky bottoms and aquatic vegetation.
The average horned chub size is 8 inches, although some can reach 10 inches.
Life history and Behavior
The spawning season for hornyhead chub is from late May to June, when the male has bumps on his head. The male builds a nest of pebbles. Other species of fish use this nest to spawn, but the male hornyhead discourages other fish.
Food and feeding habits
The horned chub is an omnivore, feeding mainly on insect larvae, but also on small crustaceans, earthworms and algae.
|Conservation status||Least Concern|
|Life span, years||No information|
|Maximum body weight, kg||No information|
|Maximum length, cm||22.5|
|Sailing speed, m/s||No information|
|Threat to people||Edible|
|Way of eating||Predator|