Pictures by Chad Thomas, Texas State University-San Marcos



Campostoma anomalum

central stoneroller



Type Locality

Licking River, Kentucky (Rafinesque 1820).


Etymology/Derivation of Scientific Name

Campostoma meaning “curved mouth,” anomalum meaning “extraordinary” (Becker 1983).



Rutilus anomalum Rafinesque 1820:52

Campostoma anomalum Cook 1959:95

Campostoma anomalum pullum Burr and Cashner 1983:115.

(Ross 2001).



Maximum size: 287 mm (11.3 in) TL (Lennon and Parker 1960).


Coloration: Dark olivaceous above, grading to whitish on the underside; sides of most adults marked by randomly scattered, small, dark spots which represent regenerated scales; fins colorless (Miller and Robison 2004). Breeding males develop striking color patterns, the entire dorsum becoming dark slate-gray; undersides of body and lower fins are pale, sometimes yellowish; dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins with black pigment (Miller 1962). Peritoneum lining black

(Goldstein and Simon 1999).


Pharyngeal teeth count: 0,4-4,0 or 1,4-4,1 (Page and Burr 1991), usually 0,4-4,0(Burr and Cashner 1983; Miller and Robison 2004).


Counts: 49-57 lateral line scales; scales around the body 39-46; 8 dorsal fin soft rays; 7 anal fin soft rays; 8 pelvic fin soft rays (Miller and Robison 2004).


Body shape:  Terete and stout.


Mouth position: Subterminal.


Morphology:  Lower jaw with cartilaginous ridge (Hubbs et al. 1991). Mature males have large, slightly hooked whitish tubercles on top of head between nape and nostrils, grading into smaller tubercles on the entire dorsum (tubercles lost shortly after spawning; Miller 1962).  Intestine very long, spirally-wound completely around air bladder (Hubbs et al. 1991; Goldstein and Simon 1999).


Distribution (Native and Introduced)

U.S. distribution: Widespread throughout the eastern United States (Hubbs et al. 1991). Isolated populations in Rio San Juan, Mexico, and smaller tributaries of Thames River, ON (Burr 1980).


Texas distribution: Found primarily in streams of the Edwards Plateau and occurs as far west as the Devils River and Sycamore Creek (Hubbs et al. 1991; Edwards 1997). Warren et al. (2000) listed the following drainage units for distribution of this species in the state: Red River (from the mouth upstream to and including the Kiamichi River), Galveston Bay (including minor coastal drainages west to mouth of Brazos River), Brazos River, Colorado River, San Antonio Bay (including minor coastal drainages west of mouth of Colorado River to mouth of Nueces River), Nueces River. Hubbs (1957) reported that the species has been taken in the Red River Drainage of eastern Texas but not from the Sabine; is common in limestone waters to the west; further, this species inhabits the entire Balconian Biotic Province and parts of the Rio Grande system.


[Additional literature noting collection of this species from Texas locations includes, but is not limited to the following: Hubbs (1954); Hubbs and Hettler (1958); Lundberg (1967); Whiteside and McNatt (1972); Edwards (1978); Rose and Echelle (1981); Gold (1984); Linam and Kleinsasser (1987).]


Abundance/Conservation status (Federal, State, Non-government organizations):

Currently secure in the southern Unites States (Warren 2000).


Habitat Associations

Macrohabitat: Small to medium sized streams (Burr 1980).


Mesohabitat: Associated with gravel substrate in clear to turbid riffles and pools in higher-gradient streams (Burr 1980). In Texas, and elsewhere, generally found in small, clear streams with gravel, rubble, or exposed bedrock (Edwards 1997); often the most abundant species in small streams and schools may contain several hundred individuals (Miller 1962; Becker 1983; Matthews et al. 1987; Edwards 1997). Species collected exclusively in the tailwaters of Possum Kingdom Reservoir, Texas (Anderson et al. 1983). Riggs and Bonn (1959) reported the species as common in Buncombe and Briar creeks and other rocky, sandy tributaries on the Oklahoma side of Lake Texoma. Commonly found in tailwater tributaries of the Kiamichi River, Oklahoma, and in smaller less permanent streams; typically occurring in gravelly or rocky riffles (Echelle and Schnell 1976). Mundahl and Ingersoll (1989) collected specimens from pools and riffles in a small Ohio stream. Commonly found in smaller creeks maintaining at least some current throughout the majority of the year, especially during spring spawning season (Edwards 1997). Newly hatched central stonerollers school and feed near vegetated stream margins and in quiet warm backwaters in the late spring and early summer; juveniles frequently inhabit swifter waters around vegetated riffles during the summer and fall, and are commonly found in midstream habitats in pools having algal mats and moderately flowing currents (Theodorakis 1987; Leonard and Orth 1988; Mundahl and Ingersoll 1989; Edwards 1997).  Central stonerollers display some intolerance to heavy siltation or pollutants which may affect quantity of available algae in pool and riffle habitats (Edwards 1997).



Spawning season:  In Texas, nest building from early February through early July, spawning from mid-February through mid-July (Edwards 1997).


Spawning location:  Pools adjacent to riffles (Burr 1980). In smaller creeks, sites located at the upstream portions of pools in slow-moving areas, frequently in association with significant quantities of sand, gravel, and abundant algal mats (Edwards 1997). In Great Smokey Mountain National Park, central stonerollers constructed nests in gravel in the tailwater of pools and at the heads of riffles in the main stream as well as small tributaries (Lennon and Parker 1960).


Reproductive strategy: Nonguarders; brood hiders; lithophils – rock and gravel spawners that do not guard their eggs (Reed 1958; Miller 1962; Simon 1999). Males build pits in gravel riffles by “rolling” larger stones away; eggs adhesive and attached to stones in nest; males defend nests (Miller 1962). This species will spawn over the nests of Semotilus atromaculatus (creek chub), but may also be displaced from the nest by this larger species of cyprinid. Central stoneroller nests may also be used by other cyprinid fishes (Miller 1962; Miller 1964).


Fecundity: Estimated 200 – 4800 eggs per female, with females ranging in size from 65-130 mm (2.56-5.11 in) SL (Schmulbach 1957). Mature egg measures 2.0 mm (0.08 in)diameter, and measures 2.4 mm (0.09 in) diameter when placed in water (at which time chorion is released from yolk and slowly fills with water); unfertilized eggs are sphere-shaped and dull gray in appearance; fertilized eggs bright yellow and adhesive (Reed 1958); hatching occurs in approximately 69-72 hours (Reed 1958; Hiltibran 1967).


Age at maturation: Likely by age 1. Hubbs and Cooper (1936) estimated that maturity is reaches during the 2nd or 3rd summer. In Wisconsin, breeding fish are age 2 or 3 (Becker 1983). In Great Smokey Mountain National Park, majority of fish reached maturity in their 3rd or 4th year of life (Lennon and Parker 1960).


Migration: Smith (1935) observed this species in streams forming part of the Susquehanna drainage, principally in Catatonk, Jackson, and Newtown Creeks, New York, reporting that it is essentially a migratory fish, ascending smaller streams to spawn in early spring; relatively few fish remain in small streams all year.


Longevity: 3 to 4 years (Edwards 1997). Lennon and Parker (1960) reported collection of specimens up to 6 years old, in Great Smokey Mountains National Park.


Food habits: Primarily herbivorous, using its cartilaginous lower jaw to feed on filamentous algae, diatoms, aquatic insects (Fowler and Tabor 1985, McNeely 1987). Young fish feed on rotifers, filamentous algae, and microcrustacea (Edwards 1997). Matthews et al. (1986) observed schools of fish grazing over rocks or on limestone ledges, and reported that distinctive grazing scars were left on areas as a result of feeding on algae. Goldstein and Simon (1999) listed first and second level trophic classifications for this species as herbivore and particulate feeder, respectively; trophic mode: grazer; feeding behavior: grazing minnow.


Growth: Up to 65 mm (2.56 in) SL by age 1 and 110 mm (4.33 in) SL by age 2 (Edwards 1997). In Big Creek, Great Smokey Mountains National Park, the length range of age groups were recorded as: 0 – 56mm (2.20 in), I – 79-104 mm

(3.11-4.09 in), II – 117-132 mm (4.60-5.20 in), III – 127-206 mm (5.00-8.11 in), IV – 165-239 mm (6.50-9.41 in), and V – 173-226 mm (6.81-8.90 in) (Lennon and Parker 1960; Becker 1983).


Phylogeny and morphologically similar fishes:

Campostoma form a monophyletic group with Dionda and Hybognathus (Coburn and Cavender 1992).  In Texas, C. anomalum closet extant relative is C. ornatum (Mexican stoneroller).  Campostoma anomalum has larger scales than C. ornatum (Hubbs et al. 1991) with the gas bladder completely enclosed by the spirally-wound intestine; Campostoma ornatum has a gas bladder only partially enclosed by the spirally-wound intestine. C. anomalum and C. ornatum differ further in that C. anomalum has 49-57 lateral line scales (Miller and Robison 2004), and 36-46 scales around body at dorsal fin origin, while C. ornatum has 58-77 lateral scales, and has 47-60 scales around body at dorsal fin origin (Page and Burr 1991).


Host Records:

Monogenetic trematodes: Dactylogyrus acus, D. georgiensis, D. katherineae, D. semotilus (Mizelle and McDougal 1970).


Commercial or Environmental Importance

According to Lennon and Parker (1960), in Great Smokey Mountains National Park, central stonerollers destroy redds of Salmo gairdneri (rainbow trout), consequently limiting trout reproduction.



Anderson, K.A., T.L. Beitinger, and E.G. Zimmerman. 1983. Forage fish assemblages in the Brazos River upstream and downstream from Possum Kingdom Reservoir, Texas. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 2(1):81-88.

Becker, G.C. 1983. Fishes of Wisconsin.  The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison. 1052 pp.

Burr, B.M. 1980. Campostoma anomalum (Rafinesque), Stoneroller. pp.143 in D. S. Lee, et al.  Atlas of North American Freshwater Fishes.  N. C. State Mus. Nat. Hist., Raleigh. i-r+854 pp.

Burr, B.M., and R.C. Cashner. Campostoma pauciradii, a new cyprinid fish from southeastern United States, with a review of related forms. Copeia 1983(1):101-116.

Cook. F.A. 1959. Freshwater fishes in Mississippi. Mississippi Fame and Fish Commission, Jackson. 239 pp.

Echelle, A.A., and G.D. Schnell. 1976. Factor analysis of species associations among fishes of the Kiamichi River, Oklahoma. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 105(1):17-31.

Edwards, R.J.  1997.  Ecological Profiles for Selected Stream-Dwelling Texas Freshwater Fishes.  Texas Water Development Board, Report.  89 pp. 

Edwards, R.J. 1978. The effect of hypolimnion reservoir releases on fish distribution and species diversity. Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 107(1):71-77.

Fowler, J.F. and C.A Taber.  1985.  Food habits and feeding periodicity in two sympatric stonerollers (Cyprinidae).  American Midland Naturalist, 113(2):217-224.

Gold, J.R. 1984. Silver-staining and heteromorphism of chromosomal nucleolus organizer regions in North American cyprinid fishes. Copeia 1984(1):133-139.

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Linam, G.W., and L.J. Kleinsasser. 1987. Fisheries use attainability study for the Bosque River. River Studies Report No. 4. Resource Protection Division, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Austin. 24 pp.

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McNeely, D.L.  1987.  Niche relations within an Ozark stream cyprinid assemblage. Environmental Biol. Fish. 18:195-208.

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