GOLDen SHINER

FISH PROFILE

COMMON NAME

Golden Shiner

Scientific name

Notemigonus crysoleucas

FAMILY

Cyprinidae family

LENGTH

7-12 inches

DIET

Opportunistic omnivores – will eat anything small, including plankton, plants, insect, fish eggs, and snails

FISH PROFILE

COMMON NAME

Golden Shiner

Scientific name

Notemigonus crysoleucas

FAMILY

Cyprinidae family

LENGTH

7-12 inches

DIET

Opportunistic omnivores – will eat anything small, including plankton, plants, insect, fish eggs, and snails

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

Golden shiners’ distinguishing features are a crescent-shaped (curved) anal fin and a small, upturned mouth. Their bodies can be silver or gold in color, and their fins often have a reddish/orange tint. Full grown adults are typically 4-7” but can reach up to 11”. Their lateral line also dips down to where the pelvic fin meets the body and levels out until it reaches the caudal fin.

RANGE, HABITAT, AND BEHAVIOR

Golden shiners are common across the U.S. but are more prevalent east of the Mississippi River. They prefer calm, clear, vegetated backwaters of lakes and rivers, but occupy a wide variety of habitats. Golden shiners can be found in quiet waters and are therefore found in lakes, ponds, sloughs, and the least disturbed parts of rivers. They are tolerant of pollution, turbidity, and low oxygen content, but their most fascinating adaptation is their tolerance for unusually high temperatures of 40 °C (104 °F), the highest for North American minnows.

FUN FACTS

Like other minnows, Golden shiners can sense a substance called “schreckstoff,” which is released by minnows in distress and serves as an alarm system to others that there is a predator. In one study, golden shiners could detect and avoid the area where feces from snakes that had eaten other golden shiners was detected. Another common behavior to minnows and seen in golden shiners is “egg dumping,” where they leave eggs in the nest of a species that guards their own brood. 

Golden shiners are commonly used as live bait to fish for bass.

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