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ironcolor shiner

ironcolor shiner (Notropis chalybaeus) [state threatened] Photo © Uland Thomas

Features and Behaviors

The ironcolor shiner has a black stripe on its side that continues through its lips and chin. The inside of its mouth is black. The eye diameter is longer than its snout length. The dorsal fin origin aligns with the pelvic fin origin and is much closer to the snout than to the caudal fin. There is a black spot at the base of the caudal fin. The back is yellow-brown, and the scales here are outlined with dark pigment except for the ones directly above the dark stripe. The body color is silver-white below the dark stripe. The breeding male has orange-red coloration on the body and fins, and tubercles are present on the chin and lower jaws. Teeth are present in the throat. Adults range from about one and one-half to two and one-half inches in length.

This species lives in creeks and rivers with clear water, a sand bottom and many aquatic plants. They swim in schools in mid-water, feeding on small aquatic animals, mainly insects. Breeding occurs in spring and summer.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: state threatened, native