Hiodon tergisus
Mooneye

Mooneye

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The natural history of the northwoods

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Name:

  • Hiodon, from the Greek, "toothed hyoid"
  • tergisus, from the Greek, "polished"
  • Common name from the large, round eye
  • Other common names include: Herring

Taxonomy:

  • Kingdom Animalia
    • Phylum Chordata, animals with a spinal chord
    • Subphylum Vertebrata, animals with a backbone
      • Superclass Osteichthyes, bony fishes
      • Class Actinopterygii, ray-finned and spiny rayed fishes
      • Subclass Neopterygii
      • Infraclass Teleostei
        • Superorder Osteoglossomorpha
        • Order Osteoglossiformes, bonytongues
        • Suborder Notopteroidei
          • Family Hiodontidae, mooneyes
            • Genus Hiodon, the mooneyes

Description:

  • A little noticed fish of larger lakes and rivers.
  • Length to 12"
  • Weight
  • Coloration
    • bluish above
    • fading to silvery on sides
  • Body
    • dorsal fin of 11-12 rays
  • Head
    • snout overhangs lower jaw
    • eyes large, round, silvery

Identification:

  • Distinguished from the closely related Goldeneye (Hiodon alosoides), by
    • silvery colour of the eyes
    • anal fin, which is more pointed than the Goldeye's and begins farther behind than the dorsal fin
    • dorsal fin of 11-12, rather than 9-10 rays

Distribution:

  • Hudson Bay south, through Ohio and Mississippi drainages.
  • Found in all Minnesota drainage basins except the Superior drainage.

Habitat:

  • Warm, silty, slow-moving waters of large rivers and in quiet shallow lakes, backwaters, ponds, and marshes connected to them. Also muddy shallows of larger lakes.

Food:

  • Aquatic insects, crustaceans, and invertebrates

History:

  • Minnesota Record: 1 lb 15oz, from the Minnesota River (Redwood County)

Uses:

  • Flesh dry and tasteless.
  • Unlike the Goldeneye (Hiodon alosoides), not exploited commercially.

Reproduction:

  • Random spring spawning without benefit of nest or ongoing parental care.

Comments:

Links:

Boreal border

Last updated on 22 October 1999