The locations and chromosomal characteristics of ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sites in the karyotypes of two extant North American species of mudminnows, Umbra pygmaea and U. limi (2n = 22, NF = 44), were analyzed sequentially by conventional Giemsa staining, Ag staining, CMA3 fluorescence and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). The nucleolar organizer regions (NORs) were located in the fourth chromosomal pair in both species (pericentromeric region in U. pygmaea and subtelomeric in U. limi). These sites were strongly CMA3-positive suggesting that the rDNA sites in these species are associated with GC-rich DNA. FISH with a rDNA probe gave consistently positive signals in the same regions detected by Ag-staining and CMA3-fluorescence. However, both species also had additional CMA 3-positive/Ag-negative heterochromatic blocks at pericentrometric regions of several chromosomal pairs (three in U. pygmaea and five in U. limi). FISH revealed additional rDNA clusters in both species. It is hypothesized that a paracentric inversion of the chromosome arm carrying the NORs might be one of the rearrangements differentiating the karyotypes of two North American species. The presence of additional rDNA sites is indicative of more complex rearrangements. The pericentromeric NOR phenotype of Umbra pygmaeais similar to that seen in U. krameri and in the distantly related genus Esox.