SCIENTIFIC NAME: Hiodon alosoides
CHARACTERISTICS: The goldeye is an elongate, compressed fish with a fairly small head but a distinctly large eye. In lateral view, the dorsal fin origin is directly above or slightly behind the anal fin origin. A fleshy keel extends from the pectoral fin base to the anus. The dorsal fin has nine to 10 rays. The anal fin contains 29 to 34 fin rays, making it one of the longest found on any Alabama fish species. The ends of the pectoral fins almost touch the pelvic fin bases. The mouth is large, with an upper jaw that extends backward to behind the pupil of the eye. Small, sharp, recurved teeth on both jaws and the tongue assist in holding prey until it can be swallowed. Anal fin structure separates the sexes. On males the anterior area of the anal fin margin is convex, whereas on females it is almost straight or concave (Cross, 1967). The back of a live goldeye is bluish green, and the venter is white. The sides have a distinct silvery appearance. On live individuals the eye is golden in color and covered with an adipose eyelid.
ADULT SIZE: 12 to 18 in (300 to 460 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: Collections housed at the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology show that goldeyes once occurred in Alabama. The lack of recent collections indicates that they no longer exist in the state. Etnier and Starnes (1993) include only one Tennessee River collection upstream of Alabama. They speculate that the species’ disappearance from the Tennessee and upper Cumberland rivers is due to impoundments, even though goldeyes appear to be more tolerant of turbidity than their near relative, the mooneye.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: The goldeye is a surface feeder in large streams, rivers, and reservoirs. In Arkansas, spawning occurs in shoals and the backwaters of reservoirs, possibly at night, when water temperatures reach 50º to 55ºF (10º to 13º C) (Robison and Buchanan, 1988). Females do not have oviducts, so their eggs are released directly into their body cavities before spawning. Etnier and Starnes (1993) report that at one year of age, fish vary from 30 to 128 mm in length. The maximum life span in Canada is 14 years (Scott and Crossman, 1973).
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Rafinesque described the goldeye in 1819.
Hiodon means tongue tooth, referring to the tiny teeth on the tongue.
Alosoides means shadlike.
The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.