Iowa DNR
River & Stream Biological Monitoring
Fish and Benthic Macroinvertebrate Surveys
Physical Habitat Assessments

Spotfin Shiner Cyprinella spiloptera

Cyprinidae (Minnows)
Trophic Class
Is Exotic to Iowa?
Is Lithophilous Spawner?
Is Hybrid?
State Listing Status
Not Listed
Assessment Program Statistics

This species was found at 365 bioassessment sites, 19 rapid fish bioassessment sites, 93 fisheries assessment sites, and 5 fisheries presence-only assessment sites. In total, it was collected at 473 distinct sites, or 32.8% of the 1442 total sites monitored by the bioassessment program. It is the 14th most commonly collected species.

The Spotfin Shiner was collected in 777 bioassessment sampling sessions and 240 fisheries assessment sessions. It was present in 19 rapid bioassessment sessions and 5 presence-only sessions.

The biological assessment program has collected a total of 52,764 individual Spotfin Shiner specimens, ranking it the #11 most collected fish.

Species Characteristics

The Spotfin Shiner has a moderately slender body and is slab-sided. The distinctive color of this fish is amazing, with a steel-blue back and sides overlaid with silver shading and dark scale pockets that form a diamond design. The anal fin of breeding males is often bright yellow, and the back is pigmented with olive-green, shading to purple and blue. There is a black blotch in the last few rays of the dorsal fin, which differs from the dusky fin of the Red Shiner. Dorsal, anal, and pelvic fins have 8 rays, while the pectoral fins have 13 to 15 rays. A slightly sub-terminal mouth is oblique and has no barbel. Strongly hooked pharyngeal teeth on sturdy arches are arranged in a l, 4-4, 1 pattern. The complete lateral line has 36 to 38 scales and is slightly de-curved.

Species Distribution Maps

HUC12 watersheds where this species has been found