SCIENTIFIC NAME: Notropis xaenocephalus
CHARACTERISTICS: Notropis xaenocephalus has a compressed body form with a rounded snout slightly overhanging the mouth. The eye is large generally exceeding snout length. A distinct lateral band extends from the snout to the tail, thinning along the caudal peduncle and expanding near the tail into a distinct quadrate caudal spot. The clean yellowish stripe above the lateral band extends from the gill opening to the tail, while the scales along the back are well pigmented. Throughout its range, the Coosa shiner often occurs with and may be confused with N. chrosomus, N. asperifrons, Cyprinella caerulea, and Lythrurus lirus (the rainbow, burrhead, blue, and mountain shiners, respectively). The Coosa shiner is placed in the N. texanus species group (Swift, 1970; Mayden, 1989). See Jordan (1877a) for original description.
ADULT SIZE: 1.6 to 2.6 in (40 to 65 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: This species is endemic to the Coosa and Tallapoosa river systems above the Fall Line and is known from the upper Chattahoochee River drainage in Georgia.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: This shiner prefers cool, clear upland streams flowing over bedrock and gravel occasionally mixed with sand-habitats typical of the Piedmont and the Alabama Valley and Ridge. Diet is stream drift of plant material and adult and immature insects. Ripe individuals have been collected from May to July. The field notes of R.D. Suttkus report ripe individuals from a tributary to Choccolocco Creek in April. Swift (1970) indicates a spawning season of June to July.
REMARKS: The type locality of this species is tributaries to the Etowah River near Rome, Floyd County, Georgia.
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: The Coosa shiner was described by Jordan in 1877.
Notropis means keeled back.
xaenocephalus means scratch head, referring to the head tuberculation on males of this species.
The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.