The stone roller is a fish in the Cyprinidae family. They can be spotted in a stream or river in almost any place in North America. They can easily adapt to habitat changes and hence are spread across a wide range. This species is not just a great pet but also plays a great role in clearing algae. They can consume a significant amount of algae. They are often called stealers as they occupy the nests of other fishes especially minnows.
We have all heard of elephant rolling rocks but have you ever heard of a fish rolling rocks? The stone roller fish like the name suggests quite literally rolls stones. To know why they got this name keep reading and don’t forget to check out our other articles on bonito fish and blobfish
A stone roller fish is a type of fish of the family Cyprinidae.
The stone roller fish belongs to the Actinopterygii class and Campostoma genus.
There are six species of stone roller fish. Their distribution is widespread. The population size is unknown, however, the conservation status of all these species makes it obvious that their population is not facing any threat as of now or in the immediate future.
The stone roller fish is spread across a wide range and most of them are endemic to North America. The main habitat of central stone roller (Campostoma anomalum) is the freshwater river of Minnesota, south Mississippi valley from New York to North Dakota, Mexico, Ohio river, and south to Georgia and Texas. The large stone roller is spread across Alabama and Oklahoma. The Mexican stone roller dwells in the river drainage and bottom of the stream of Rio Yaqui and Rio Grandee. Bluefin stone roller is observed in the pools of Alabama and Apalachicola. Isolated populations can be observed in Isolated populations in Rio San Juan, Mexico, and smaller tributaries of the Thames River.
All the species of stone roller fish occupy more or less the same range of habitat. Central stone roller and large scale stone roller occupy freshwater, stream, mid water river, gravel riffles, and the pool. They are also found in the moderate gradient stream and high gradient stream with gravel substrate. The Mexican stone roller is spotted in elevations of 2600-6500 ft (792-1981 m). The rest of them are primarily found in river watersheds, streams, and drainages.
Stone roller fishes as juveniles live together as a school. They feed and protect each other. The male and female abandon their eggs. Very little contact between adults is observed. The adults might live as a group.
It is estimated that they have a lifetime of four to six years. The only known lifespans are those of the central stone roller (Campostoma anomalum) is three to four years and the large scale stone roller (Campostoma oligolepis) is five years. There is very little information known on the lifespans of other species.
All stone roller species reproduce through spawning. They begin breeding when they reach sexual maturity, which occurs after four years. The breeding season starts in the winter and may extend until the summer. By enticing females, males start the breeding process. Then breeding males proceed to create a nest by making bowl shaped depressions with their snout. Spawning occurs in the spring and summer. Species in warmer climates begin spawning earlier than those in cold climates. The females enter their nesting location and lay between 200 and 48000 eggs in the nest. It rapidly accomplishes this and steps out, following which the males fertilize the eggs. It applies adequate pressure to the eggs, concealing them in gravel. This is done in order to protect the eggs from predators and strong water currents. Males and females flee the nesting area, leaving the eggs alone. When the eggs hatch, the fry cling together to feed and protect each other. Schools can have up to 100 members. This species will also breed on the nests of other fishes. It even goes to the extent of interrupting the mating session of another fish and pushing the female out of their nests.
This North American fish species, as per the IUCN Red List are placed in the Least Concern category of conservation. This is because they can adapt to a variety of habitats and are widespread throughout their range.
The description might differ based on the species. The mature males and females mostly resemble one another. They have a black and olive green dorsal surface that fades somewhat into a white abdomen. Males have a dark grey dorsum with a golden underbelly. They have small dark spots on their pelvic fins on either side of the body. This is only noticed during the spawning season. Their fins are colorless. Minute dark spots may be seen all over the body. They eat by using their cartilaginous lower jaw in their body. The mouth is horizontal, with no barbel. The mouth is always white and the female's appearance does not vary significantly. They may acquire subtle brown stripes on their dorsal fins. The lower jaw has a shelf that is used to graze algae. Their nests might be used by Semotilus atromaculatus (creek chub). Hybridization can be observed between Campostoma oligolepis and Campostoma anomalum pullum Copeia.
The North American bluefin stone roller (Campostoma pauciradii) is differentiated from others by the number of gill rakers, which, in their case ranges from 12 - 16. The Mexican stone rollers (Campostoma ornatum) are capable of changing colors and the breeding male exhibits various colors.
The changing colors of the Mexican stone roller are captivating. Sometimes their algae eating behavior can gross you out.
The communication methods of this species are unknown. There isn't much to be gleaned from that. It is assumed that they communicate like all other fishes by using motions and gestures. They might also convey messages by sending electrical impulses. Most of them can smell danger. Even the mildest smells are easily picked by these fishes.
The stone roller can be anywhere between 3-6.2 in (8-16 cm) in length. It is two times bigger than the white cloud mountain minnow.
The exact speed at which these fishes travel is not known. It can vary based on their habitat. However, they are said to disappear before we make an attempt to catch them. They do not hide in safe places when they sense danger rather swim away quickly.
The weight of the stone roller has not been calculated.
The male and female species do not have specific names. They are called stone rollers or C anomalum.
The baby stone roller doesn't have a distinct name. It is either called a fry or a juvenile.
Algae can account for up to 27% of their body weight in a single day. Juvenile fishes eat rotifers, filamentous algae, and microcrustaceans, among other things. Adult males and females occasionally consume detritus, diatoms, and water insects. They've also been spotted eating mollusks and small plants. They are hunted by herons such as green herons and little blue herons. Other predators include bitterns, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and rock bass.
No stone rollers are not dangerous. They are only aggressive while they defend their territory and during the spawning season. The breeding males show violent behaviors towards other fishes who are seen anywhere near the nesting site. Apart from that they are friendly and do not pose any threats to human beings.
Yes, they would be amazing pets. They do not demand many things. If you fulfill their basic necessities they would do well in a tank. In ideal temperatures, they might even breed in an aquarium.
Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.
The male stone rollers use their mouth to carry small stones out of their way while building the nest.
Once fertilized, eggs become sticky and adhere to the gravel at the bottom of streams.
Keratinized growth is seen on the head, back, and body.
The central stone roller and large scale stone roller are very similar. The only way you can tell them apart is if you silt their nose. The central stone roller has large tubercles on the inside of the nose.
Their nests might be used by Semotilus atromaculatus (creek chub). Hybridization can be observed between Campostoma oligolepis and Campostoma anomalum pullum Copeia.
Their scientific name was given by becker in the year 1983. Campostoma is a means curved mouth and anomalum implies extraordinary. Since they have a curved mouth they were given this name. The common name stone roller was given based on a particular behavior during the breeding season. In order to place the eggs, they create a dent in the soil bed in a shallow river or stream. This is accomplished by rolling the stones and mud out of their way using the nose. Stone rollers get their name from the fact that they roll stones. Other names of the central stone roller include Rutilus anomalum and Campostoma anomalum Pullum.
Stone rollers are spread across a wide range and most of them, including central stonerollers, endemic to North America
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these onghorn cowfish facts and lungfish facts pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable stone roller coloring pages .
Main image by Campostoma_anomalum.
Second image by USFWS Mountain-Prairie.