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blacknose shiner

​blacknose shiner (Notropis heterolepis) [state endangered] Photo © Uland Thomas

Features and Behaviors


The blacknose shiner is about two to four inches in length. It is gray-green on the back and upper surface and silvery below. The fins are colorless. A black band can be seen from the tip of the snout to the base of the tail fin along each side. There are small, dark patches within the dark band. The dark band does not touch the tip of the chin. The anal fin has eight rays. Teeth are present in the throat. The mouth is small and horizontal. The front edge of the dorsal fin is above the front edge of the pelvic fins. The scales on the back have dark edges. The breeding male has tubercles (bumps) on the head and pectoral fins.


The blacknose shiner may be found in clear, glacial lakes and a few clear, sand-bottomed streams in Lake County. These water bodies must have aquatic plants. This fish is intolerant of silt. Spawning occurs from June through August. The female deposits about 1,500 eggs. The blacknose shiner swims in schools at medium water depths, eating small insects, crustaceans and other items found around plants. The life span of this fish is about two years.

Illinois Range


Kingdom: Animalia​
Phylum: Chordata​
Class: Actinopterygii​
Order: Cypriniformes​
Family: Leuciscidae

Illinois Status: state endangered, native

It is found only in Lake County, although it once lived throughout the northern two-thirds of the state. Increased turbidity of lake and stream pool waters and the disappearance of aquatic plants have been major factors in the decline of this species within the state. Improved soil conservation practices to reduce silt would enhance its survival prospects in Illinois.