SCIENTIFIC NAME: Luxilus zonistius
CHARACTERISTICS: The bandfin shiner is among the smallest species of Luxilus, with a deep and compressed body. The dorsal fin has an oblique black band beginning much closer to the body than does that of the warpaint shiner, L. coccogenis. The bandfin shiner has a distinct caudal spot and a subdued red bar on the cheek. Body color is typically olive to steel-blue on the back, grading to a copper flush along the sides.
ADULT SIZE: 2.4 to 3 in (60 to 75 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: Luxilus zonistius is found in the Chattahoochee River drainage and upper portions of the Altamaha, Savannah, Coosa, and Tallapoosa river systems (Gilbert, 1964). In Alabama it occurs throughout the Chattahoochee drainage and in parts of the Tallapoosa and Coosa systems.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: The bandfin shiner prefers to inhabit small to medium-sized streams that have substrates of bedrock, gravel, rubble, or sand and that have no aquatic vegetation. The species is usually common when encountered. Johnson and Birkhead (1988) observed spawning in April in a Halawakee Creek tributary in Lee County. They also reported nuptial activity over the gravel nest of a bluefin stoneroller, Campostoma pauciradii, with shiners presumably depositing their gametes in the nest as well. These observations indicate that, for bandfin shiners in Alabama, spawning most likely occurs from March through May, the spawning season for other Luxilus species in the state. The diet of the bandfin shiner is probably stream drift composed of adult and immature aquatic insects, terrestrial insects, and plant matter.
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Jordan described the bandfin shiner in 1880.
Luxilus means small light, hence the name shiner.
Zonistius means banded, referring to the dorsal fin.
The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.