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taillight shiner

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Notropis maculatus

CHARACTERISTICS: The taillight shiner is a slender species with a rounded, blunt snout projecting slightly beyond the upper lip. The eyes are relatively large, and the small oblique mouth is somewhat inferior. At the base of the tail occurs a characteristic round, darkly pigmented spot. The spot is separate from a narrow, dusky lateral band that extends from the gill opening to the tail. Scale edges are outlined with black, giving the species its distinctive diamond shaped pattern along the sides. The body of breeding males is flushed with red or pink throughout, as are the outer third of the first few rays of the dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins and the edging along the caudal fin tips. The taillight shiner may be confused with the pugnose minnow, Opsopoeodus emiliae, but the latter can be recognized by its nearly vertical mouth.

ADULT SIZE: 1.8 to 2.4 in (45 to 60 mm)

DISTRIBUTION: This species' spotty distribution is likely a collecting artifact, since its preferred habitat - swampy, mud-bottomed backwaters with some vegetation or cover - is difficult to survey with conventional sampling methods.

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY:  Spawning occurs from March through June in Alabama, although Cowell and Barnett (1974) report spawning from March to early October in central Florida. They also report a life span of over two years and a diet of algae, rotifers, microcrustaceans, and some insects and detritus. Notropis maculatus inhabits Atlantic and Gulf slope drainages from the Cape Fear River in North Carolina north to Kentucky and west to the Red River in Texas. In Alabama it is occasionally seen in large rivers and tributaries of the Coastal Plain, including the Tombigbee, Alabama, Choctawhatchee, Chattahoochee, and Mobile river systems.

ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: The taillight shiner was described by Hay in 1881.

Notropis means keeled back.
Maculatus means spotted.

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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