Blacktail Shiner (Cyprinella venusta)

Drawing of Blacktail Shiner (Cyprinella venusta)

Illustration © TPWD

Cyprinella is Greek for "small carp" and venusta is Latin for "beautiful, like Venus." The blacktail shiner is a somewhat slender minnow with 8-9 rays on the anal fin, and a prominent black spot at the base of the tail fin. The back is usually yellowish-olive, and the sides are silvery with hints of blue. Adults in Texas have reached 4.6 inches in length.
Unlike the golden shiner, the blacktail shiner prefers flowing waters. It is usually most abundant in areas with little vegetation, swift current, and gravelly bottoms.
Blacktail shiners are found in the southern United States west of the Appalachian Mountains. The species ranges east and west from north central Florida to West Texas, and north to southern Illinois. In Texas, blacktail shiners are unknown in the Panhandle, being found primarily from the Edwards Plateau eastward.