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redfin shiner

redfin shiner (Lythrurus umbratilis) Photo © Uland Thomas

Features and Behaviors


The redfin shiner is about two to three inches in length. This minnow has a deep body that is compressed from side to side. The back is green-yellow with black specks, the sides are silver and the belly is white. There is a black spot at the front edge (bottom) of the dorsal fin. The scales on the upper body are uniformly pigmented with black. The scales in front of the dorsal fin are small and crowded. The lateral line curves sharply downward. Teeth are present in the throat. The breeding male has a bright blue body, red fins and white or pale gray on the top of the head.


The redfin shiner may be found statewide in Illinois. It lives in clear, slow-flowing creeks. It is tolerant of silt and turbidity. This minnow is most common in pool habitats where there is little or no current. It swims in schools at middle water depths or near the surface. Spawning occurs from June through August over the nest of a green sunfish or longear sunfish. Approximately 500 to 700 eggs are deposited by the female. The redfin shiner eats insects and other small invertebrates.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native