SCIENTIFIC NAME: Cyprinella gibbsi
CHARACTERISTICS: Cyprinella gibbsi has an elongate, robust, moderately deep, and only slightly compressed body. Its head is moderate in size and triangular, with a long, pointed snout, particularly in breeding males. Its mouth is large, terminal, and oblique. Breeding males are brilliantly colored, with a blue-black to steel-blue back and sides and a copper lateral stripe. The dorsal fin (which is not greatly expanded in breeding males) is red-orange in the front and dark in the back, with white shading throughout. Paired fins and the anal fin are red-orange in the front and white in other areas. The caudal fin has milky white tips, red-orange membranes, and a black margin. Though their ranges do not overlap, the Tallapoosa shiner is most closely related to the tricolor shiner, C. trichroistia. Males of the two species can be distinguished by breeding tubercle patterns and snout shapes.
ADULT SIZE: 2 to 2.6 in (50 to 65 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: The Tallapoosa shiner is distributed almost exclusively in the Tallapoosa River system above the Fall Line. A recent collection of several specimens from Wehadkee Creek in Randolph County is the first record of C. gibbsi from the Chattahoochee River system, indicating stream capture between the Tallapoosa and Chattahoochee river systems.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: The Tallapoosa shiner is the most common minnow species collected in tributaries of the Tallapoosa River system above the Fall Line. It is most frequently found in medium-sized streams with sand, silt, or rock substrates. Swift areas and shoals downstream of riffles appear to the preferred, although individuals have been reported from eddies and pools with slow currents. Little information is available about the life history of this species. However, as with other Cyprinella species, spawning likely occurs from late April through June. Ferguson (1989) reports crevice spawning for C. gibbsi in aquariums. Diet probably consists of stream drift composed of terrestrial insects and aquatic insect immatures with occasional plant matter.
REMARKS: The type locality of the Tallapoosa shiner is Enitachopco Creek, a tributary to Hillabee Creek, Clay County, Alabama.
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Howell and Williams described the Tallapoosa shiner in 1971.
Cyprinella means diminutive of Cyprinus, the carp.
gibbsi – in honor of Robert H. Gibbs, U.S. National Museum, recognizing his studies of the genus Cyprinella.
The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.