SCIENTIFIC NAME: Lythrurus ardens
CHARACTERISTICS: The rosefin shiner is a small to medium-sized cyprinid characterized by a deep, compressed body and a medium-sized head. The genus Lythrurus is characterized by small scales (generally 24 or more predorsal scales rows), more than 10 anal rays, and numerous small breeding tubercles on the head. The rosefin shiner has a distinct spot at the base of the dorsal fin and a dark lateral band extending from the caudal fin to the dorsal fin base. Breeding males have vertical bars of varying widths extending across the back to just below the lateral band. The body color of breeding males is blue-gray along the back and upper sides, changing to a golden yellow along the lower sides and venter, while the distal halves of the dorsal, anal, and caudal fins are orange. See Günther (1868) for original description.
ADULT SIZE: 1.8 to 3 in (45 to 75 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: Two populations of this species are recognized (Snelson, 1990). Lythrurus a. ardensoccurs in Atlantic slope drainages in Virginia and North Carolina, and L. a. fasciolaris occurs in the Ohio basin from Ohio south to Alabama. In Alabama L. ardens occurs in the Tennessee River drainage and in Clear Creek and Blackburn Fork, two tributaries of Locust Fork in the Black Warrior River system. Fiorino (1991) elevates L. a fasciolaris to species status, L. fasciolaris.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: The rosefin shiner inhabits small to medium-sized upland streams with slow to moderate current, usually over gravel and rubble substrates. Trautman (1981) indicates a marked preference for clear streams with moderate to high gradient and gravel substrates with little clay or silt. He also reports an intolerance of very turbid waters and stream reaches where siltation rapidly occurs. In Alabama spawning occurs from April through July, often over sunfish nests. Diet reportedly consists of algae, midges, mayflies, odonates, and terrestrial insects taken at the surface (Surat et al., 1982).
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Cope described the rosefin shiner in 1868.
Lythrurus means blood tail, perhaps referring to the bright red breeding colors.
The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.