SCIENTIFIC NAME: Cyprinella callistia
CHARACTERISTICS: The Alabama shiner has somewhat stout, moderately elongate body that is slightly compressed. The head is triangular and large, and the mouth is relatively large, horizontal, and located on the bottom of the head. Breeding males are beautiful, with a blue-black caudal spot and steel-blue back and sides grading to a cream venter. Fins have milky white shading, while the dorsal fin is bright red in the front and has a large black spot on the back. (In breeding males, the dorsal fin is expanded.) The caudal fin is bright red edged in white and yellow. See Jordan (1877a) for original description.
ADULT SIZE: 2.6 to 3.5 in (65 to 90 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: Cyprinella callistia is endemic to the Mobile basin and is found most frequently above the Fall Line. The Alabama shiner is one of the dominant minnow species found in the Cahaba, Coosa, and Tallapoosa river systems. Mettee et al. (1987) report isolated populations of Alabama shiners in Okatuppa and Tuckabum creeks (two lower Tombigbee River tributaries in the western lime Hills) and also give the first account of the species from this region.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: The Alabama shiner is the most common cyprinid in the main channel of the Tallapoosa River. Adults favor moderate to swift flowing runs and riffles over boulder, cobble, and gravel substrates, whereas juveniles prefer shallow waters with slow to moderate current. Spawning individuals have been collected from April to early July, usually at the head of swift riffles or in chutes within riffles. Ferguson (9189) reports crevice spawning for Alabama shiners living in aquariums. This species feeds on aquatic insect larvae and other bottom-dwelling animals, and snails have been found in the digestive tracts of some individuals.
REMARKS: The type locality for the Alabama shiner is tributaries to the Oostanaula and Etowah rivers, near Rome, Floyd County, Georgia.
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: The Alabama shiner was described by Jordan in 1877.
Cyprinella means diminutive of Cyprinus, the carp.
Callistia means beautiful sail, referring to the bluish black dorsal fin.
The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.