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rainbow shiner

 SCIENTIFIC NAME: Notropis chrosomus 

CHARACTERISTICS: Notropis chrosomus is a robust, moderately compressed minnow species with a slender peduncle and short fins. A black lateral band extends from the gill opening to the tail. Breeding males are quite beautiful, with a light reddish purple stripe above the lateral band and iridescent violet flecks along the back and the dorsal, pectoral, and caudal fins. The sides below the purple stripe are iridescent powder blue, changing to silver on the venter. The dorsal and anal fins have bright red spots in the center of the front rays. The dorsal half of the eye is bright red. In both sexes, small breeding tubercles cover the head and a large part of the body (Swift, 1970). The rainbow shiner is placed in the colorful subgenus Hydrophlox of Notropis, along with N. baileyi, N. leuciodus, N. lutipinnis, and N. rubellus in our study area. See Jordan (1877a) for original description.

ADULT SIZE: 1.6 to 2.4 in. (40 to 60 mm)

DISTRIBUTION: The rainbow shiner is almost exclusively confined to the Mobile River basin above the Fall Line in the Alabama Valley and Ridge. It is commonly found throughout the Coosa River system and parts of the Cahaba River system, but it is strangely absent in the Tallapoosa River system. Isolated populations are found in the lower Alabama River drainage, in upland tributaries of the Black Warrior River system adjacent to the Alabama Valley and Ridge, and in the Short and Town creek systems of the Tennessee River drainage.

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: This species is typically found in small, low-turbidity headwater streams flowing over gravelly and sandy riffles and pools. Spawning occurs from April through June or July, frequently over gravelly nests constructed by fish species of the genus Nocomis or Campostoma; we have observed rainbow shiners spawning over Nocomis mounds in Little Schultz Creek, a Cahaba River tributary in Bibb County in early May. With their reddish purple backs and neon blue pectoral fins, males are quite prominent in spawning aggregations. Like other Notropis, the rainbow shiner is most likely a drift feeder, consuming aquatic insects and plant material. Surprisingly, considering this fish's striking appearance, its life history has received little study.

REMARKS: The type locality of the rainbow shiner is tributaries to the Etowah River near Rome, Floyd County, Georgia.

ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: The rainbow shiner was described by Jordan in 1877.

Notropis means keeled back.
Chrosomus means colored body.

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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