Silver Chub Fact Sheet
New York Status: Endangered
The silver chub is a silvery minnow with large eyes. It has a small inferior (upper jaw overhangs lower jaw) mouth that is nearly horizontal. A small barbel is located at the back of the upper jaw. With the exception of a white band along the bottom margin of the lower lobe, the caudal (tail) fin is pigmented. As an adult, the silver chub averages 4 to 7 inches in length; however, fish as large as 8 or 9 inches have been found.
It is believed the silver chub spawns from late May through June in open water areas of large streams and lakes. Females lay between 2,600 and 11,500 eggs. Young silver chubs feed on a variety of aquatic insects and crustaceans, including cladocerans, copepods, amphipods, chironomids, and mayfly nymphs.
Distribution and Habitat
The silver chub is found in large streams and lakes in east-central North America. It occurs from Lake Erie south throughout the Mississippi, Ohio and Alabama River drainage basins. In the northern part of its range, the silver chub is found in the Red River in Arkansas, Kansas, and Missouri, and in the Red River in North Dakota and Manitoba. In New York State, it has only been collected in Lake Erie. It prefers waters with gravel or silty bottoms.
Following years of high population levels in Lake Erie, the silver chub suffered a drastic decline in its numbers in about 1953. Scientists theorize that the population decline was due to several factors, including deterioration in water quality, decreases in the number of mayfly larvae (the chub's preferred food), and habitat modification that resulted in loss of suitable environment for the silver chub. It was caught in nearby Pennsylvania in 1971, but is extirpated from New York.
The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will seek to reestablish a secure, abundant and self-sustaining silver chub population in the eastern basin of Lake Erie.