About This Animal
SIZE: 4 in (10.2 cm)
RANGE: Found only on the Barrens Plateau of middle Tennessee
HABITAT: Springs, pools and slow current areas of spring-fed streams
DIET: Aquatic insects and freshwater plankton
ON EXHIBIT: Tennessee River Gallery in Ocean Journey
These attractive minnows swim near the surface of the water feeding on tiny insects such as mosquito larvae. They spawn by scattering their eggs into heavily vegetated areas. The aquarium mimics these spawning grounds by adding yarn mops for the fish to hide and spawn in. These can be seen in the Barrens topminnow breeding lab in the Tennessee River gallery.
The barrens topminnow teeters on the brink of extinction. It is found in three locations in Middle Tennessee. The Tennessee Aquarium is involved in a captive breeding and reintroduction project to help save this species. Learn more about how the Aquarium staff is working to restore Barrens Topminnows.