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highscale shiner

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Notropis hypsilepis

CHARACTERISTICS: The highscale shiner is a small, fusiform, and somewhat pale species with a blunt snout that extends slightly beyond a small, inferior mouth. The lateral band is weakly developed, being more heavily pigmented on the peduncle, and a clean stripe occurs above the lateral band from the caudal fin to the gill opening. A small, wedge-shaped spot separate from the lateral band is found at the base of the caudal fin. Characteristic dark patches also occur at the bases of the anal and dorsal fins. The predorsal stripe is developed weakly, if at all, and the scales on the back are well outlined with pigment. Notropis hypsilepis most resembles the weed shiner, N. texanus, and the Coosa shiner, N. xaenocephalus. See Suttkus and Raney (1955c) for original description.

ADULT SIZE: 1.4 to 2 in (35 to 50mm)

DISTRIBUTION: Notropis hypsilepis is limited to the Chattahoochee and Savannah river drainages. In Alabama the species is generally confined to streams in the Halawakee and Uchee creek systems in the vicinity of the Fall Line. However, we found a single record from the lower Chattahoochee River in Houston County.

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: An upland species, the highscale shiner prefers small to medium-sized streams flowing over bedrock and sand substrates, as typified by streams in the southern edge of the Piedmont near the Fall Line. It is reported as occurring near the mouths of small tributaries, which is consistent with its preference for stream pools with flow. A large series of highscale shiners was collected in Little Uchee Creek at the foot of an extensive rock shoal, in a swift run approximately 2 to 3 feet deep flowing over sand and gravel substrates. Little is known about this species’ life history, but as with many shiners, it probably consumers stream drift with many shiners, it probably consumes stream drift and spawns from May through June.    

ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Suttkus and Raney described the highscale shiner in 1955.

Notropis means keeled back.
Hypsilepis means high scale, referring to this species’ elevated anterior lateral line scales.

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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