Common Name

Scientific Name

View Utah Distribution Map

Photo by Unknown Photographer
Photo Courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The speckled dace, Rhinichthys osculus, is a small minnow native to the western United States, as well as to parts of southwestern Canada and northern Mexico. In Utah, the species is quite common, occurring in many of the state's major streams and in numerous desert springs. The speckled dace has adapted to many different types of habitat, ranging from cold swift-flowing mountain headwaters to warm intermittent desert streams and springs.

Speckled dace are benthic feeders (they feed on the bottom), eating primarily insect larvae and other invertebrates, although algae and fish eggs are also consumed. The species spawns during the spring and summer over gravel areas that have been cleaned by territorial males. The speckled dace is a schooling species that is most active at night. In many parts of their range, speckled dace are important forage fish for sport fish species.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Sigler, W. F. and J. W. Sigler. 1996. Fishes of Utah[:] a natural history. University of Utah Press. Salt Lake City. 375 pp.