River Shiner
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult.
  • Top view adult.
  • Bottom view adult.
  • Head-on view adult.
  • Close-up flank.
  • Close-up head.
  • Close-up mouth and snout.
  • Close-up tail.
  • Close-up dorsal fin.
  • Close-up anal fin.
  • Close-up pectoral fin.
  • Close-up pelvic fin.
  • Anterior dorsal scales: Notice that the dorsal scales are weakly outlined in pigment; the base of the dorsal fin is surrounded by a mid-dorsal stripe.
  • View of intestine: Notice the silvery peritoneum and the short gut.
  • Close-up dorsal fin: Notice the pointed tip of the dorsal fin.
  • Close-up anal fin: There are 7 (rarely 8) anal rays.
  • Close-up flank: Notice the lack of pigment on the flank; the scales are not outlined in pigment; there is a silvery color.
  • Close-up mouth: The mouth is terminal and oblique; eye diameter is greater than the mouth corner to the tip of the snout.
  • Comparison of Mississippi silvery minnow (top) and river shiner (bottom): Notice the subterminal mouth and the smaller eye of the Mississippi silvery minnow.
  • Comparison of Mississippi silvery minnow (top) and river shiner (bottom): Notice the subterminal mouth and the smaller eye of the Mississippi silvery minnow.
  • Alternative side vie of an adult.
DescriptionSimilar Species
Family
Minnows (Cyprinidae)
Body
Mouth and snout: Terminal and slightly oblique, without any teeth. No barbels. Snout rounded. Body patterning, color, and scales: Solid color: olive to tan back; flanks silver; belly cream or white. Dorsal scales only lightly outlined in dark pigment, but a mid-dorsal stripe present (often faint in live fish) and continuous around the dorsal fin. Little pigment on flank scales or lateral-line pores. Fins with little pigment. 32-36 cycloid lateral line scales, rounded in shape. Body shape and size: Body fusiform, oval or round in cross section. Typically 35-85 mm (1.5-3.5 in) TL; maximum about 125 mm (5 in).
Fins
Tail, dorsal and other fins: Forked tail. Single dorsal fin with 8 rays and no spines. Pelvic fins abdominal. No adipose fin. Anal fin with 7 rays (rarely 8) and no spines.
Distinguishing Characteristics
The river shiner can be distinguished by its round lateral-line scales, lack of pigment on dorsal fin, and slightly deep and slightly laterally compressed body, its 7-8 anal fin rays, its lack of barbels, its terminal mouth, and its pre-dorsal scales, which are similar in size and spacing to the flank scales. See also similar species information.
Breeding Adults
Males have minute tubercles on top of head, pectoral fin, and leading edge of dorsal and anal fins.
Juveniles
Similar to adults.
Hybrids
None
Compare Similar Species
Mouth
Minnow, BrassySlightly subterminal, slightly oblique
Minnow, Mississippi SilverySlightly subterminal, slightly oblique
Minnow, PugnoseSuperior, strongly oblique to nearly vertical
Shiner, BigmouthSlightly subterminal, slightly oblique
Shiner, ChannelTerminal to slightly subterminal, oblique
Shiner, EmeraldTerminal, oblique
Shiner, GhostTerminal, slightly oblique
Shiner, MimicTerminal to slightly subterminal, oblique
Shiner, PallidSlightly subterminal, nearly horizontal
Shiner, RedfinTerminal, oblique
Shiner, RiverTerminal, slightly oblique
Shiner, Rosyface/CarmineTerminal, oblique
Shiner, SandTerminal, oblique
Shiner, SpottailTerminal to slightly subterminal, oblique
Body Pigmentation
Minnow, BrassySilvery, golden, or brassy cast, but without distinctive dark pigmentation of scale margins or lateral-line pores
Minnow, Mississippi SilverySilvery cast, but without distinctive dark pigmentation of scale margins or lateral-line pores
Minnow, PugnoseDark lateral stripe sometimes present. Lightly pigmented area above lateral line and dorsal scales moderately outlined in pigment
Shiner, BigmouthTan back, silver sides, cream belly. Dorsal scales strongly outlined with dark pigment. Dark pigment blotch above and below each lateral-line pore, giving "mouse tracks" appearance along side.
Shiner, ChannelTan to silver body. Dorsal scales strongly outlined with dark pigment. Dark pigment blotch above and below each lateral-line pore giving "mouse tracks" appearance along side.
Shiner, EmeraldBack blue-green to iridescent in life, silvery on sides, cream on belly. Dorsal scales lightly outlined with pigment; little or no pigment on flank scales or lateral pores. Diffuse posterior lateral stripe in preserved fish.
Shiner, GhostSilvery and pale. Dorsal scales lightly outlined with pigment; pigment also on posterior top of head. No other dark pigment on body.
Shiner, MimicTan to silver body. Dorsal scales strongly outlined with dark pigment. Dark pigment blotch above and below each lateral-line pore giving "mouse tracks" appearance along side.
Shiner, PallidDark lateral stripe sometimes present, extending on to snout. Dorsal scales lightly outlined with pigment; little or no other pigment on body
Shiner, RedfinDark gray or blackish on back grading to silvery and cream on sides and belly; diffuse broad dark lateral stripe in some preserved specimens. Dark diffuse spot at anterior base of dorsal fin.
Shiner, RiverTan to silvery on back and sides, cream on belly. Dorsal scales lightly outlined with pigment; little or no pigment on flank scales or lateral pores. Mid dorsal stripe continuous around dorsal fin; sometimes faint
Shiner, Rosyface/CarmineDark olive back, silver sides, cream belly. Head and body red in breeers. Dorsal scales lightly to moderately outlined with pigment; little or no pigment on flank scales or lateral pores
Shiner, SandTan to silver body. Dorsal scales strongly outlined with dark pigment. Dark pigment blotch above and below each lateral-line pore giving "mouse tracks" appearance along side
Shiner, SpottailTan/olive back, silver sides, cream belly. Dorsal scales lightly outlined with pigment; little or no pigment on flank scales or lateral pores. Dark spot at base of caudal fin
Other Distinguishing Features
Minnow, BrassyBlack peritoneum, long gut with intestine 3.8-4.1 X TL; dorsal fin tip rounded; eye diameter greater than length from corner of mouth to snout tip
Minnow, Mississippi SilveryBlack peritoneum, long gut with intestine 5.4-5.8 X TL; dorsal fin tip pointed; eye diameter less than length from corner of mouth to snout tip. Usually 8, occasionally 9, anal fin rays
Minnow, Pugnose9 dorsal fin rays; 8 (rarely 7) anal fin rays
Shiner, BigmouthMouth length greater than eye diameter; usually 8 anal fin rays, occasionally 7 or 9
Shiner, Channel8 (rarely 7) anal fin rays; lateral-line scales 2-3 times as tall as wide
Shiner, Emerald10-12 (usually 11) anal fin rays
Shiner, GhostInfraorbital sensory canal on head largely absent
Shiner, Mimic8 (rarely 7) anal fin rays; lateral-line scales 3 times as tall as wide
Shiner, PallidUsually 8, occasionally 9, anal fin rays
Shiner, Redfin41-48 lateral-line scales; 10-12 (usually 11) anal fin rays
Shiner, River7 (rarely 8) anal fin rays
Shiner, Rosyface/Carmine9-11 (usually 10) anal fin rays
Shiner, Sand7 (rarely 8) anal fin rays
Shiner, Spottail8 (rarely 7) anal fin rays
Similarity Index
Minnow, BrassyVery similar
Minnow, Mississippi SilveryVery similar
Minnow, PugnoseVery similar
Shiner, BigmouthVery similar
Shiner, ChannelVery similar
Shiner, EmeraldVery similar
Shiner, GhostVery similar
Shiner, MimicVery similar
Shiner, PallidVery similar
Shiner, RedfinVery similar
Shiner, RiverN/A
Shiner, Rosyface/CarmineVery similar
Shiner, SandVery similar
Shiner, SpottailVery similar
Comments
Minnow, BrassySee 1st row.
Minnow, Mississippi SilverySee 1st row.
Minnow, PugnoseSee 1st row.
Shiner, BigmouthUnless otherwise noted, all species typically have 8 anal rays, 8 dorsal rays, 41 or fewer lateral line scales (less than 2 times as tall as wide), a silvery peritoneum with an intestine shorter than the total length, a mouth length less than eye diameter, and an infraorbital canl on the head that is complete (extends behind and under eye).
Shiner, ChannelSee 1st row. Also see note under Distinguishing Characteristics in Attribute Details!
Shiner, EmeraldSee 1st row.
Shiner, GhostSee 1st row.
Shiner, MimicSee 1st row. Also see note under Distinguishing Characteristics in Attribute Details!
Shiner, PallidSee 1st row.
Shiner, RedfinSee 1st row.
Shiner, RiverSee 1st row.
Shiner, Rosyface/CarmineSee 1st row.
Shiner, SandSee 1st row.
Shiner, SpottailSee 1st row.
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