Channel 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.
  • The mouth is terminal to slightly subterminal and oblique.
  • There are 8 (rarely 7) anal fin rays.
  • There are pigment blotches (faint in live fish) above and below the lateral pores ("mouse tracks").
  • The anterior lateral-line scales are highly elevated (2-3 times as tall as wide).
  • The dorsal scales are pigmented, and the dorsal stripe is faint/absent (more prominent in some individuals).
  • The channel shiner is fusiform; body depth < 4.5 in SL, dorsal fin height <2.5 in predorsal length.
  • The dorsal scales are pigmented, and the dorsal stripe is dark (faint or absent in most individuals).
  • Side view of a young-of-year: Juveniles are similar to adults.
  • Side view of a juvenile (bottom) and an adult (top): Juveniles are similar to adults.
DescriptionSimilar Species
Family
Minnows (Cyprinidae)
Body
Mouth and snout: Terminal to slightly subterminal and oblique, without any teeth. No barbels. Snout rounded. Body patterning, color, and scales: Solid color: tan or light olive back; silver flanks, and white belly. Dorsal scales strongly outlined in dark pigment. Small pigment blotches above and below each lateral-line scale pore, giving a “mouse tracks” appearance on flank. Little pigment on fins. 32-38 cycloid lateral line scales, rounded in shape, and vertically elongated (2-3 times as tall as wide). Body shape and size: Body fusiform, oval in cross section. Typically 35-65 mm (1.5-2.5 in) TL; maximum about 75 mm (3 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 8 rays, rarely 7, and no spines.
Distinguishing Characteristics
The channel shiner can be distinguished by its round lateral-line scales, its lack of pigment blotch on dorsal fin, its dorsal scales strongly outlined in dark pigment, and its small dark blotches above and below each lateral-line pore, its lack of barbels, its terminal to slightly subterminal mouth, and by its pre-dorsal scales, which are similar in size and spacing to the flank scales. See also similar species information. Note that as of January 2003, not all mimic and channel shiner specimens can be distinguished with 100% certainty. The following characteristics will separate the two species most of the time, but some specimens will remain unidentifiable. Also, hybrids and intergrades probably occur. Channel shiner – predorsal stripe usually absent or incomplete, faint if complete; posterior dorso-lateral scales either continuously pigmented or with pigment concentrated posteriorly; postdorsal stripe usually absent or incomplete, faint if present; specimens over 45 mm standard length (SL) typically with body depth contained less than 4.5 times in SL, body width contained less than 1.7 times in depth, dorsal fin height less than 2.5 times in pre-dorsal length, and anterior lateral line scales 2-3 times as tall as wide. Mimic shiner – Predorsal stripe present, often faint but rarely incomplete; posterior dorso-lateral scales usually with pigment concentrated posteriorly; postdorsal stripe usually present and complete, often well-pigmented; specimens over 45 mm SL typically with body depth contained more than 4.5 times in SL, body width contained more than 1.7 times in depth, dorsal fin height more than 2.5 times in pre-dorsal length, and anterior lateral line scales more than 3 times as tall as wide.
Breeding Adults
Male with fine tubercles on head and pectoral fins.
Juveniles
Similar to adults.
Hybrids
Mimic shiner X Channel shiner (no photos). Emerald shiner X Channel Shiner (1 from lower Kickapoo River; UWZM 11324, no photos).
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, ChannelN/A
Shiner, EmeraldVery similar
Shiner, GhostVery similar
Shiner, MimicVery similar
Shiner, PallidVery similar
Shiner, RedfinVery similar
Shiner, RiverVery similar
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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