Phoxinus phoxinus


Minnows are small fish that sometimes gather in large shoals. They are found in freshwater streams and rivers and, less frequently, in lakes. Minnows feed on insects, molluscs, crustaceans, plant debris and fish eggs. They spawn several times between April and June, making short migrations upstream to shallow, gravelly beds. Predators of the Minnow include brown trout and birds.

How to identify

Minnows are greenish-brown with dark bars above and silver underneath, with a dark stripe down the side. The male's belly turns pink in the summer. The Minnow lacks the dorsal spines of sticklebacks.

Where to find it

Found throughout the country.

When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

To help to look after minnows and other fish species, The Wildlife Trusts work with landowners, statutory bodies, water companies and other organisations to help manage river and wetland habitats sympathetically. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife happenings, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and be helping local wildlife along the way.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Phoxinus phoxinus
Freshwater fish
Length: 4-10cm Weight: 8-16g Average Lifespan: 2-5 years
Conservation status