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Warpaint

WARPAINT SHINER

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Luxilus coccogenis

Characteristics: This Luxilus species is fairly large and compressed, with scales generally higher than they are wide and a large head and mouth. The outer third of the dorsal fin has a wide black band parallel with the margin, and there is a wide black border near the margin of the caudal fin. In breeding males the snout and upper jaw are cherry red. The front margin of the opercles has a red orange bar, and the base of the dorsal fin has a cherry red spot. A well-developed black bar marks the gill openings. Each lobe of the caudal fin has a distinct pale zone extending about half the fin length, giving the appearance of pale caudal fin spots. The original description is given in Günther (1868).

 ADULT SIZE: 3 to 3.9 in (75 to 100 mm)

DISTRIBUTION: The warpaint shiner is distributed throughout the Tennessee River drainage from Virginia to Alabama and occurs in the headwaters of a few Atlantic slope drainages (Gilbert, 1964). As shown on the facing page, we have collected this species from the Cypress and Shoal creek systems in the Tennessee River drainage. On 6 September 1995, after the distribution map was created, we made two collections in the Lookout Creek system, a small drainage that originates near Valley Head, Alabama, and flows northwest to Georgia. These collections extend the warpaint shiner’s range in Alabama to three stream systems.

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: Luxilus coccogenis inhabits medium-sized to large upland streams with clear, cool water. They appear to prefer swift riffles and riffle runs over rock and gravel substrates. Spawning activity over nests of the river chub, Nocomis micropogon, was observed in the upper Tennessee River drainage from June to July (Outten, 1957). Spawning in Alabama may occur as early as April, since colorful males showing nuptial tubercles have been collected it the Shoal Creek system in March. Shallow, flowing water is required for spawning, which occurs over bottom cover, debris, and chub nests. The maximum reported age is more than four years (Outten, 1957). The diet is stream drift containing plant material, terrestrial insects, and adult and immature aquatic insects.

ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Cope described the warpaint shiner in 1868.

ETYMOLOGY:
Luxilus means small light, hence the name shiner.
Coccogenis means berry red cheek.

May be confused with the bandfin shiner.

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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