Silver Chub

Silver Chub:  Photo from North American Native Fishes Association.

Silver Chub: Photo from North American Native Fishes Association.

The Silver chub (Macrhybopsis storeriana) lives near the bottom of large sandy rivers. In Kansas it is found in the lower Arkansas River, portions of the Ninnescah River and the Missouri river. However, it has not been observed in the Kansas River since 1980 in spite of once having been abundant there. Most are about 5 inches long but may grow to 9 inches. The Silver chub feeds on insects, plant seeds, small mollusks and crustaceans along the bottom of the river. Its large eyes can see very well except in murky water. In turbid water, mouth barbels hanging from the corner of the mouth are used for smell. They have a complete lateral line for detection of water vibrations along their flanks. Its body is greyish-green on top and silver underneath. Recent drought has dramatically reduced their populations in the Ninnescah River in southern Kansas. Ground water withdrawals can also do harm. Biologists at Kansas State University report that river fragmentation caused by dams adversely affect aquatic systems in the Great Plains needed by native fish species like the silver chub. Once dams breakup a river into small enough sections, fish eggs released into the river cannot drift downstream for enough distance to develop completely. An additional aggravating problem is the stocking of reservoirs behind dams with nonnative fish, e.g. Largemouth bass that prey on native fish like the silver chub.