SCIENTIFIC NAME: Lythrurus roseipinnis
CHARACTERISTICS: This species is easily confused with both the pretty shiner, Lythrurus bellus, and the blacktip shiner, L. atrapiculus. The cherryfin shiner, however, does not occur in the range of L. atrapiculus, which is confined to coastal drainages east of the Mobile basin. Also, dorsal and anal fins in the cherryfin shiner are less pigmented than those in the pretty and blacktip shiners, with melanophores confined to the interradial membranes near the tips of the first two to three rays of these fins. Snelson (1972) indicates that the cherryfin shiner has the most specific fin pigmentation pattern of the L. roseipinnis species complex, and consequently this is a good character for distinguishing the three species. The paired fins have little pigment (such is not the case in the pretty and blacktip shiners). The lateral band is well defined on the peduncle but dusky anteriorly. In breeding males the dorsal fin has a medial zone of red, while the anal fin and pelvic fins are flushed with cherry red over the back third to half. The caudal fin is delicately shaded with orange-red. Originally described by Hay (1881) as Minnilus rubripinnis, this species was assigned another name by Jordan (1885a) for original description.
ADULT SIZE: 1.2 to 2 in (30 to 50 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: Lythrurus roseipinnis is found in Gulf slope drainages from the Mobile basin west through Lake Pontchartrain and north through the Yazoo River drainage. Distribution in Alabama is confined to the lower Mobile basin near the confluence of the Alabama and Tombigbee rivers, south through the Mobile Delta, and west to the Escatawpa drainage. In the lower Alabama and Tombigbee rivers, there is a zone of distributional proximity between L. roseipinnis and L. bellus, but collections have indicated no sympatry between these species.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: The cherryfin shiner is a common inhabitant of medium-sized streams with slow to moderate flows. Substrates are typically sand, silt, or clay, with stream margins varying from heavily vegetated to clean. Local populations have been found in both heavy cover and open streams reaches. Heins and Bresnick (1975) report a spawning season extending from late March into August or September in Mississippi and a life span of more than one year. Ripe individuals have been collected from late March through August in Alabama; otherwise, little is known about the life history of this species.
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Hay described the cherryfin shiner in 1885.
Lythrurus means blood tail, perhaps referring to the bright red breeding colors.
Roseipinnis means red fin.
The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.