Redfin shiner (Lythrurus umbratilis)

Synonyms: Alburnus umbratilis, Notropis umbratilis
GenusLythrurus (1)
SizeLength: up to 8.8 cm (2)

The redfin shiner is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

The redfin shiner (Lythrurus umbratilis) is a deep-bodied, medium-sized minnow with a short, rounded snout and large eyes (3) (4). The body is light olive to steel-blue, with silver sides and a few black specks above, including a dark blotch at the base of the dorsal fin. During the breeding season, the male redfin shiner develops a blue head, vertical stripes on the front half of the body and a red tint to the fins (5) (6). Tubercles also appear on the head and cheeks (3).

The redfin shiner is found in the Mississippi and Ohio valleys and the southern Great Lakes tributaries, as well as the Gulf Coast drainages. It ranges from south-eastern Minnesota, southern Ontario and western New York, south to Mississippi, Louisiana, and eastern Texas (7).

The redfin shiner occupies a variety of freshwater habitats, but most typically occurs in headwaters, creeks, and small- to medium-sized rivers, where it is found in deep, quiet pools (7) (8).

Breeding occurs between late April and late August, when male redfin shiners aggregate in dense swarms at spawning grounds. The females remain in deep water until ready to spawn. Each male defends a territory over a sunfish (Lepomis) nest, into which the eggs are cast. The male and female redfin shiner swim parallel while the male stimulates the female to release the eggs with vibrations of its body (9). 

A surface feeder (4), the redfin shiner mainly eats aquatic and terrestrial insects or other small invertebrates, but often feeds extensively on algae (7).

No major threats to the redfin shiner are known at present, although it is possible that some localised threats may exist (1).

The redfin shiner has not been the target of any known conservation measures, and is currently considered to be of relatively little conservation concern (1).

Find out more about the redfin shiner:

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:

  1. IUCN Red List (August, 2013)
  2. FishBase - Redfin shiner (July, 2011)
  3. Ross, S.T. (2001) Inland Fishes of Mississippi. University Press of Mississippi, Jackson.
  4. Miller, R.J. and Robison, H.W. (2004) Fishes of Oklahoma. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.
  5. Goldstein, R.J., Harper, R.W. and Edwards, R. (2000) American Aquarium Fishes. Texas A&M University Press, Texas.
  6. Texas Parks and Wildlife - Redfin shiner (July, 2011)
  7. NatureServe Explorer - Redfin shiner (July, 2011)
  8. Texas State University: Biology Department - Redfin shiner (July, 2011)
  9. Stauffer, J.R. Jr., Boltz, J.M. and White, L.R. (1995) The Fishes of West Virginia. Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania.