SCIENTIFIC NAME: Notropis boops
CHARACTERISTICS: Is a deep-bodied somewhat compressed minnow with large eyes. The large, oblique mouth is at the end of the snout, while the end of the upper jaw extends past the front of the eye. The back is typically olive yellow, and the sides are silvery. The lateral band is dark and continues around the snout, touching the tip of the lower jaw. The pores of the lateral band are outlined with melanophores on the top and bottom. The bigeye shiner is similar to and found sympatrically with the Tennessee shiner, N. leuciodus, which lacks pigment on the tip of the lower jaw.
ADULT SIZE: 1.2 to 3.1 in (30 to 80 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: Notropis boops is generally confined to upland streams in the Mississippi basin from the Tennessee and Ohio river drainages west through Missouri and Arkansas. Its occurrence in Alabama is sporadic and is limited to the Tennessee River drainage, with individuals having been taken from the Paint Rock River and Bear, Spring, and Piney creek systems.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: The bigeye shiner usually inhabits clear, small to medium-sized streams with pools over substrates of gravel, rock, or sand; it typically avoids fast waters. Little is known about the life history of this species in Alabama. In Oklahoma a protracted spawning season from late April to August has been recorded (Lentinen and Echelle, 1979), with most individuals spawning by their second summer of life. In Alabama spawning likely occurs from late May to August. The diet of N. boops probably consist of stream drift composed of terrestrial insects, adult and immature aquatic insects, and plant material. Trautman (1981) reports that this species is a sight feeder, preying on small insects hovering at the water surface. He also notes that bigeye shiners are sensitive to increased siltation and turbidity.
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Gilbert described the bigeye shiner in 1884.
Notropis means keeled back.
Boops means ox eye, referring to this species’ large eye.
The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.