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Cahaba

CAHABA SHINER

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Notropis cahabae

CHARACTERISTICS: A member of the Notropis volucellus species group, N. cahabae is a long-known but only recently described species (Mayden and Kuhajda, 1989). It has an elongate but somewhat robust body and a head with large eyes and a slightly oblique mouth. Though similar in appearance to the mimic shiner, N. volucellus, the channel shiner, N. wickliffi, and an undescribed species similar to N. volucellus known from the Mobile basin, the Cahaba shiner has a lateral stripe with straight dorsal and ventral edges on the caudal peduncle, no well-defined predorsal stripe or spot, and a breast usually characterized by embedded or exposed scales. In the other three species, the lateral stripe is expanded ventrally, forming a distinct caudal spot. Adult Cahaba shiners are light olive above and silvery below and do not develop vivid breeding colors.

ADULT SIZE: 1.4 to 1.8 in (35 to 45 mm)

DISTRIBUTION: Notropis cahabae is endemic to the main channel of the Cahaba River of the Mobile basin. The historic range of the Cahaba shiner included about 76 river miles from Centreville upstream to Helena, but recent studies (Shepard et al., 1994) indicate that the species is now limited to about 15 river miles from Centreville upstream to Piper Bridge. In the Cahaba River it occurs sympatrically with the undescribed “Mobile mimic shiner.”

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: The preferred habitat of the Cahaba shiner is the main channel of the Cahaba River, in areas of shallow shoals up to 5 feet deep and downstream of riffles composed of clean sand or a sand-gravel mix. Individuals have also been observed in shallow waters flowing through beds of the emergent aquatic vegetation Fusticia. Spawning occurs from mid-May through early July, with peak activity in June. Little is known of the species’ feeding biology.

REMARKS: The type locality of this species is the Cahaba River, near Centreville, Bibb County, Alabama. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the Cahaba shiner as an endangered species.

ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Mayden and Kuhajda described the Cahaba shiner in 1989.

ETYMOLOGY:
Notropis means keeled back.
Cahabae means of the Cahaba River, the range of this species.

The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin. Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division protects this fish from capture or possession. Federally listed as endangered, the US Fish and Wildlife Service has more information on the Cahaba shiner.

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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