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highland shiner

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Notropis micropteryx

CHARACTERISTICS: The highland shiner is a slender, terete species with a pointed snout. The dusky lateral band extends from the gill opening to the caudal fin, expanding to form a distinct, quadrate caudal spot. The anterior lateral line scales are bounded above and below by weakly developed pigment spots. The lips are dark, but the chin is typically unpigmented. In life, Notropis micropteryx has an olive back with silvery sides and a narrow emerald stripe similar to that of the emerald shiner, N. athernoides, which the highland shiner also resembles in body form. The two can be distinguished by the anal fin margin, which is straight in micropteryx and concave in atherinoides. Breeding male highland shiners acquire a red flush throughout the body and on the snout, lips, chin, and top of the head. The highland shiner was split out from the rosyface shiner, N. rubellus, species group by Wood et al. in 2002.  The rosyface shiner is not found in Alabama.

ADULT SIZE: 2.2 to 3 in (55 to 75 mm)

DISTRIBUTION: The highland shiner occurs in the Cumberland, Green and Tennessee river systems.

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: Notropis rubellus inhabits small streams to relatively large rivers, preferring swift, clean waters flowing over hard substrates of bedrock, gravel, and cobble near riffles or in pools. It commonly occurs in large schools. Spawning occurs over gravel nests of other species from April to July, with peak activity in May and June. Pfeifer (1955) reports spawning over gravel depressions and a life span of more the three years in New York for a closely related species, the rosyface shiner, Notropis rubellus. A sight feeder, this minnow consumes algae, immature stoneflies, mayflies, dipterans, and plant material.

REMARKS: The type locality of this species is Holston, Virginia.

ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: The highland shiner was described by Cope in 1868.

Notropis means keeled back.
Micropteryx is from the Greek mikros meaning small, and pteryx meaning fin.

The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.

Note: In Alabama, it is illegal to stock or move any fish, mussel, snail or crayfish to any public water without a permit.

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