SCIENTIFIC NAME: Lythrurus atrapiculus
Characteristics: For most characteristics (particularly fin pigmentation), the blacktip shiner is weakly differentiated from and typically intermediate between the pretty shiner, Lythrurus bellus, and the cherryfin shiner, L. roseipinnis. Pigmentation on the dorsal and anal fins is wedged-shaped, narrowing from the distal half of the first anterior rays to the tips of the posterior rays. Pigment in the pelvic fins is concentrated at the front but fades until it disappears at the back, and the dorsal fin is light orange on the bottom half. The blacktip shiner does not occur with other Lythrurus species in Alabama, but small individuals may be confused with the golden shiner, Notemigonus crysoleucas, or the weed shiner, Notropis texanus.
ADULT SIZE: 1.2 to 2.2 in (30 to 55 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: This species is found in Gulf Coast drainages from the Escambia River basin east to the Apalachicola basin (Snelson, 1972). In Alabama the blacktip shiner is found in the Conecuh, Yellow, Choctawhatchee, and Chattahoochee river drainages. The only Mobile basin record of this species is from Town Creek, a Tallapoosa tributary in Bullock County.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: Usually common when encountered, this species prefers small to medium-sized streams with sand bottoms and many backwaters and pools. Snelson (1972) points out that one often finds no L. atrapiculus in long stretches of shallow stream habitat but then discovers many individuals congregated in long, deep pools. Little is known about the life history of this species, except that gravid individuals have been collected from May to July. Its diet likely consists of drifting terrestrial and aquatic insects.
REMARKS: The type locality for the blacktip shiner is Sikes Creek, near Clio, Barbour County, Alabama.
Lythrurus means blood tail, perhaps referring to the bright red breeding colors.
Atrapiculus means black apex
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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