SCIENTIFIC NAME: Lythrurus lirus
CHARACTERISTICS: The most slender of Alabama’s Lythrurus species, the mountain shiner is also distinguished from the other members by having fins with reduced pigmentation. It also lacks the distinct dorsal fin spot found in the rosefin shiner, L. ardens. The body form is generally compressed but more rounded than those of other species of Lythrurus. The lateral band is widest in midbody, thinning toward the head and peduncle. In breeding males, tubercles are extremely concentrated on the head, and the body color observed in Larkin Fork individuals was light olive to yellow-green, with pale yellow-gold along the back and white on the venter. Snelson (1980) reports contrasting descriptions of male breeding color in the early literature on this species. See Jordan (1877a) for original description.
ADULT SIZE: 1.4 to 2.2 in (35 to 55 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: This species is confined to the Tennessee and Alabama river drainages in Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama (Snelson, 1980). In the Mobile basin, this species is found only in the Coosa and Cahaba river systems above the Fall Line. In the Tennessee River drainage, this species has been found in the Shoal Creek and Paint Rock River systems. Surprisingly, it is absent from the upper Black Warrior and Tallapoosa river systems.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: Lythrurus lirus inhabits cool, flowing, small to medium-sized streams, preferring clear waters by riffles and riffle runs over substrates ranging from boulders to sand and gravel. This species is not abundant, occurring in widely dispersed populations. Nuptial and tuberculate individuals have been captured in April and May. Spawning occurs from early May through July.
REMARKS: The type locality of this species is tributaries to the Etowah River near Rome, Floyd County, Georgia.
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Jordan described the mountain shiner in 1877.
Lythrurus means blood tail, perhaps referring to the bright red breeding colors.
Lirus means lily white.
The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.