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tricolor shiner

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Cyprinella trichroistia

Characteristics: A moderately sized, slightly compressed, elongate fish, the tricolor shiner has a large, triangular head with a long, pointed snout. The mouth is large, terminal, and oblique. Breeding males have a dark blue-gray lateral band bordered above by a narrow stripe. The anterior part of the dorsal fin is orange, while the posterior membranes are black, contrasting with the white fin rays. The predominantly orange caudal fin has white tips and a diffuse quadrate spot at its base. The anal, pelvic, and pectoral fins are orange anteriorly and milky white elsewhere. (This contrasts with the red-orange color of these fins in the closely related Tallapoosa shiner, Cyprinella gibbsi.) See paper by Jordan and Brayton (1878) for original description.

 ADULT SIZE: 2.6 to 3.1 in (65 to 80 mm)

DISTRIBUTION: The tricolor shiner is endemic to the Mobile basin and is almost completely confined to the Cahaba and Coosa river systems above the Fall Line. Isolated populations are known to occur in Swift and Little Mulberry creeks of the Alabama River drainage and in Davis and Turkey creeks in the Black Warrior River system. The Black Warrior populations apparently gained access through headwater stream capture from tributaries of the Cahaba and Coosa river systems.

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: Cyprinella trichroistia is common throughout its range, occurring in flowing, cool streams over boulders, cobble, or gravel. Juveniles prefer quiet waters over sand or sand-gravel substrates. Diet includes steam drift composed of adult and immature aquatic insects, plant matter, and terrestrial insects. Spawning occurs from mid-May through August. Ferguson (1989) reports crevice-spawning behavior for this species, with pairs swimming horizontally along a crevice as they release and fertilize eggs down its length. To attract females, males, perform mock spawning runs along the crevices.

REMARKS: The type locality of this species is a tributary of the Etowah River, near Rome, Floyd County, Georgia.

ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Jordan and Gilbert described the tricolor shiner in 1878.

Cyprinella is a diminutive of Cyprinus, the carp.
Trichroistia means tricolored sail, referring to the tricolored dorsal fin on breeding males.

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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