SCIENTIFIC NAME: Luxilus chrysocephalus
CHARACTERISTICS: The striped shiner has a deep head and compressed body. Its large scales are generally much higher than they are wide on the sides, and the pigment on some scales forms crescent-shaped bars. The back has distinct parallel bars running lengthwise and ending in a V at the caudal fin. Breeding males turn rose red color on the snout, lower head, and venter, while their sides become scarlet. Dorsal and caudal fins are flushed with yellow, and the paired fins and anal fin are pink to scarlet with clear margins. Individuals taken outside the breeding season have little color.
ADULT SIZE: 2.6 to 5.9 in (65 to 150 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: This species occurs from the southern Great Lakes region south to Gulf slope drainages, east to the Ohio river basin, and west to Texas and the Ozark Mountains. Two subspecies of Luxilus chrysocephalus are recognized: the northern striped shiner, L. c. chrysocephalus, which occurs from the Tennessee River drainage in Alabama north of approximately 34 degrees north latitude; and the southern striped shiner, L. c. isolepis, which occurs south of this line, generally below the Fall Line (Gilbert, 1964). In Alabama L. c. chrysocephalus is found in the Tennessee River drainage and the Coosa River system, while L. c. isolepis is found in the remaining drainages of the Mobile and the Escambia river basins. Intergrades of the two subspecies have been recognized in Blackburn Fork of the Black Warrior River.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: The striped shiner typically inhabits small to medium-sized streams with slow to moderate currents and alternating areas of pools and riffles. Small individuals are often found in moderately swift riffle runs; large adults prefer deeper pools with slower currents. From March through early May, spawning occurs over gravel and sand in rudimentary nests constructed by males and also over gravel pits dug by other species of Cyprinidae, including Nocomis(bluehead chub and river chub), Semotilus (creek chub and dixie chub), and Campostoma (Johnston and Page, 1992). This surface feeder eats stream drift containing aquatic and terrestrial insects and filamentous algae; it may also occasionally eat larger invertebrates.
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Rafinesque described the striped shiner in 1820.
Luxilus means small light, hence the name shiner.
Chrysocephalus means golden head.
The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.