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

Common Shiner Luxilus cornutus

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 511 bioassessment sites, 67 rapid fish bioassessment sites, 99 fisheries assessment sites, and 19 fisheries presence-only assessment sites. In total, it was collected at 649 distinct sites, or 45% of the 1442 total sites monitored by the bioassessment program. It is the 10th most commonly collected species.

The Common Shiner was collected in 1065 bioassessment sampling sessions and 297 fisheries assessment sessions. It was present in 67 rapid bioassessment sessions and 22 presence-only sessions.

The biological assessment program has collected a total of 104,467 individual Common Shiner specimens, ranking it the #5 most collected fish.

Species Characteristics

This cyprinid is robust with a stout body and is moderately compressed laterally. The body is olive-green with bluish reflections on the back and the sides, and the belly is silvery. Breeding males are tinted with pink over their whole body and have dusky dorsal and caudal fins. Common shiners are one of a few minnow species with dark pigmentation behind scattered scales, looking like some scales have been lost. The scales along the sides are elevated and appear diamond-shaped. A broad mid-dorsal stripe, along the top of the back, is subtended by 2 or 3 narrow, parallel stripes and is best seen by viewing the fish from above. The dorsal and pelvic fins have 8 rays, while the pectoral fins have 15 to 17, and the anal fin usually has 9 rays. A large, terminal mouth is nearly horizontal and has no barbel. Strongly hooked pharyngeal teeth on sturdy arches are arranged in a 2, 4-4, 2 formula.

Species Distribution Maps

HUC12 watersheds where this species has been found