Redfin Shiner (Lythrurus umbratilis)
- Average adult length is 3.5 inches (8.9 cm). Redfin shiner have a light olive to steel blue body with silvery sides and an occasional reddish tint in breeding males. Other distinguishing characteristics include a small dark spot at the base of the dorsal (back) fin, large eyes, and a blunt snout.
- Life History
The redfin shiner is a member of the minnow family (Cyprinidae). Like other minnows, it is an important link in the food web of freshwater ecosystems, eating small insects and algae, then being eaten by larger fish, wading birds and turtles. Redfin shiner reach sexual maturity between the second and third summer, and spawn from late April through August. They use nests previously used by sunfish, but the number of eggs produced and their incubation time is unknown. Redfin shiner live up to 3 years.
Redfin shiners congregate in large schools near the water's surface. They are attracted to sunfish nests and are stimulated to spawn by the scent of fluids released from the sunfish during spawning. A male redfin shiner will defend territory above a sunfish nest until a female redfin comes along, then spawning occurs.
Redfin shiners can survive in water that is somewhat turbid (laden with silt) except during the breeding season, when clear water is needed. The term "minnow" is often used for any small fish, however, only members of the family "Cyprinidae" are true minnows. Members of the Cyprinidae family include fish with common names such as minnow, shiner, chub, dace, and stoneroller. Goldfish and carp, both native to Asia, are also members of this family. Texas has 56 native species in the Cyprinidae family, while North America as a whole has 231 species.
- Redfin shiners prefer pools and streams with sand and gravel bottoms and some vegetation.
- Redfin shiner are found from the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins, west New York to Minnesota and south to Louisiana and the Gulf drainages west to the San Jacinto River in Texas.
- People often use redfin shiners as bait to catch sportfish such as crappie and bass. They can also be used as a freshwater aquarium fish.