The goldeye is a freshwater fish endemic to the United States and Canada. Its range includes the greater part of Canada from Ontario and Quebec westward to the Northwest Territories and Alberta. It also lives in waters drained by the Mississippi River and its tributaries, according to USGS.
According to the University of Minnesota, the scientific name of the goldeye is Hiodon alosoides (Rafinesque, 1819). The species was originally named by Constantine Rafinesque, a self-taught man who excelled in many fields of learning.
According to Fishbase, Rafinesque called the species Clupea alosoides. Later, it was transferred to the genus Hiodon.
The mooneye belongs to the same genus as the goldeye. Its scientific name is Hiodon tergisus. A few extinct species have also been placed in the genus Hiodon.
According to Tolweb, Hiodon is the only genus in the family Hiodontidae, and Hiodontidae is the only family in the order Hiodontiformes. Some taxonomists have placed Hiodontidae in the order Osteoglossiformes with the bonytongues.
Etymology of the Scientific Name
As far as the etymology of Hiodon is concerned, do not believe everything that you read on the Internet.
The one thing that is certain is that the last part of the word is derived from the ancient Greek word odoús, which means “tooth.” I believe that the “Hi” is the same as the “hy” in hyoid and refers to the Greek letter upsilon.
I have encountered two theories regarding the idea behind this generic name. Some, such as Fishes of Texas, say that it refers to the toothed tongue or the toothed hyoid of the fish. In contrast, Fishbase says that the name reflects the shape of the teeth. Whether or not this is correct, I believe that Fishbase is mistaken when it traces the syllable “Hi” to the Greek letter gamma instead of upsilon.
The specific name tells us that the goldeye resembles the shad. Alosa is the genus to which the American shad belongs, and -oides is a Greek-derived suffix indicating similarity in appearance.
This species is commonly called goldeye because of its gold-colored iris. According to Fishbase, a German common name is Goldauge, which is an exact equivalent of the English name. Several other English names are current in Canada: shad mooneye, toothed herring, Winnipeg goldeye, etc.
According to National Geographic, the goldeye is a compressed fish with a large mouth and small sharp teeth. It is bluish above and silvery white below, with large scales. Individual specimens may reach a length of 51 centimeters. Their maximum weight is 1.4 kilograms.
According to the Montana government, the eyes of this species have no cones, but only rods. It cannot detect color.
According to Fishes of Texas, the goldeye has a varied diet and consumes whatever food is available. They often feed on aquatic insects, such as water boatmen, beetles, the larvae of dragonflies and damselflies, and the larvae and imagos of may-flies.
According to Fishbase, they also eat crustaceans, mollusks, and small fishes, as well as an occasional frog, shrew, or mouse.
According to Fishbase, the goldeye “migrates upstream in spring to spawn and feed” and “moves downstream in fall.” They are “mainly nocturnal.” Birds prey on this species, as do some mammals and larger fish. Fishermen also catch them on occasion.