SCIENTIFIC NAME: Notemigonus crysoleucas
CHARACTERISTICS: The body of the golden shiner is deep and laterally compressed, with a lateral line that curves toward the venter on the anterior part of the body. The venter has a sharp, fleshy keel extending from between the pelvic fins to the sickle-shaped anal fin. The head is small, with a small, upturned mouth. The back is light greenish olive to light orange; the sides are silvery, the venter white. Cavender and Coburn (1992) consider all North American species of the family Cyprinidae, except for those in the genus Notemigonus, to be of a single ancestral origin; these members are called phoxinins. Notemigonus, represented in North America only by the golden shiner, is considered to be more closely related to the European cyprinids known as leuciscins.
ADULT SIZE: 2 to 9.1 in (50 to 230 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: Notemigonus crysoleucas is found throughout Gulf and Atlantic slope drainages and the Mississippi basin and has been widely introduced in western states. It is widespread throughout Alabama, occurring in all major drainages.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: The golden shiner is a cultured bait species, which accounts for its wide distribution in the United States. It is commonly found in quiet backwaters, and it thrives in isolated areas of impoundments. Spawning occurs from April to July, with the females laying adhesive eggs over aquatic plants or the nests of other fish species. DeMont (1982) reports golden shiners spawning over nests of bluegill, while Kramer and Smith (1960) describe schools of 25 to 100 golden shiners depositing eggs over largemouth bass nests about one or two days after the bass had spawned. In July, in backwater pools of the lower Cahaba River, thousands of golden shiner juveniles have been collected in just a few net hauls. Crustaceans, filamentous algae, and stream drift consisting of adult and immature insects composes the diet of this species.
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Mitchill described the golden shiner in 1814.
Notemigonus means angled back.
Crysoleucas means golden white, referring to body color.
The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.
Golden shiners often eat the eggs of spawning bass and bream. This characteristic should be considered before golden shiners are allowed to be used for bait in ponds.