SCIENTIFIC NAME: Pteronotropis hypselopterus
CHARACTERISTICS: The sailfin shiner has a small head and a deep, compressed body tapering to a narrow peduncle. Anal and dorsal fins are large and triangular, with the front rays of the dorsal fin much shorter than the rays at the back of the depressed fin. The outer margin of the dorsal fin is straight or somewhat concave. A broad, uniform, steel-blue lateral band extends from the head to the base of the tail. The dorsal fin is light near its base, dark in the middle, and white toward the outer edge, while the anal fin is uniformly olive yellow. Small red spots mark the base of the caudal fin. Pternotropis hypselopterus is easily confused with the flagfin shiner, P. signipinnis, and the two frequently occur together. The flagfin shiner is also easily confused with the broadstripe shiner, P. euryzonus, which has a convex margin on the dorsal fin and anterior rays that are equal to or longer than the posterior rays.
ADULT SIZE: 1.6 to 2 in (40 to 50 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: The sailfin shiner is found below the Fall Line from the Pee Dee River drainage in South Carolina to western tributaries of Mobile Bay in Alabama. It is commonly found in the lower Mobile basin near the confluence of the Tombigbee and Alabama rivers and east to the Chattahoochee River drainage.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: Pteronotropis hypselopterus is commonly found in small, clear streams over sand and clay bottoms, often occurring in blackwater streams. It appears to prefer riffle runs and flowing pools, and individuals are often taken in eddies and deep runs immediately downstream of log and debris snags. Individuals in breeding condition have been collected in June. The sailfin shiner is most likely a drift feeder, consuming terrestrial insects, adult and immature aquatic insects, and plant material.
REMARKS: The precise type locality is unknown for this species; it was reported only as "Mobile, Alabama."
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: The sailfin shiner was described by Gunther in 1868.
Pteronotropis means winged keeled back, referring to the enlarged dorsal fin of breeding males.
Hypselopterus means high fin.
The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.