Redfin shiner (Lythrurus umbratilis)

Redfin shiner
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Redfin shiner fact file

Redfin shiner description

GenusLythrurus (1)

The redfin shiner (Lythrurus umbratilis) is a deep-bodied, medium-sized minnow with a short, rounded snout and large eyes (3) (4). The body is light olive to steel-blue, with silver sides and a few black specks above, including a dark blotch at the base of the dorsal fin. During the breeding season, the male redfin shiner develops a blue head, vertical stripes on the front half of the body and a red tint to the fins (5) (6). Tubercles also appear on the head and cheeks (3).

Alburnus umbratilis, Notropis umbratilis.
Length: up to 8.8 cm (2)

Redfin shiner biology

Breeding occurs between late April and late August, when male redfin shiners aggregate in dense swarms at spawning grounds. The females remain in deep water until ready to spawn. Each male defends a territory over a sunfish (Lepomis) nest, into which the eggs are cast. The male and female redfin shiner swim parallel while the male stimulates the female to release the eggs with vibrations of its body (9)

A surface feeder (4), the redfin shiner mainly eats aquatic and terrestrial insects or other small invertebrates, but often feeds extensively on algae (7).


Redfin shiner range

The redfin shiner is found in the Mississippi and Ohio valleys and the southern Great Lakes tributaries, as well as the Gulf Coast drainages. It ranges from south-eastern Minnesota, southern Ontario and western New York, south to Mississippi, Louisiana, and eastern Texas (7).


Redfin shiner habitat

The redfin shiner occupies a variety of freshwater habitats, but most typically occurs in headwaters, creeks, and small- to medium-sized rivers, where it is found in deep, quiet pools (7) (8).


Redfin shiner status

The redfin shiner is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Least Concern


Redfin shiner threats

No major threats to the redfin shiner are known at present, although it is possible that some localised threats may exist (1).


Redfin shiner conservation

The redfin shiner has not been the target of any known conservation measures, and is currently considered to be of relatively little conservation concern (1).


Find out more

Find out more about the redfin shiner:



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Simple plants that lack roots, stems and leaves but contain the green pigment chlorophyll. Most occur in marine and freshwater habitats.
Dorsal fin
The unpaired fin found on the back of the body of fish, or the raised structure on the back of most cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises).
Animals with no backbone, such as insects, crustaceans, worms, molluscs, spiders, cnidarians (jellyfish, corals, sea anemones) and echinoderms.
The production or depositing of eggs in water.
An area occupied and defended by an animal, a pair of animals or a group.
A small, rounded, wart-like bump on the skin or on a bone.


  1. IUCN Red List (August, 2013)
  2. FishBase - Redfin shiner (July, 2011)
  3. Ross, S.T. (2001) Inland Fishes of Mississippi. University Press of Mississippi, Jackson.
  4. Miller, R.J. and Robison, H.W. (2004) Fishes of Oklahoma. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.
  5. Goldstein, R.J., Harper, R.W. and Edwards, R. (2000) American Aquarium Fishes. Texas A&M University Press, Texas.
  6. Texas Parks and Wildlife - Redfin shiner (July, 2011)
  7. NatureServe Explorer - Redfin shiner (July, 2011)
  8. Texas State University: Biology Department - Redfin shiner (July, 2011)
  9. Stauffer, J.R. Jr., Boltz, J.M. and White, L.R. (1995) The Fishes of West Virginia. Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania.

Image credit

Redfin shiner  
Redfin shiner

© Uland Thomas

Uland Thomas


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