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ribbon shiner

ribbon shiner (Lythrurus fumeus) Photo © Uland Thomas

Features and Behaviors

The ribbon shiner has a slender body with silver sides and a silver-white belly. The back is olive-green, and there is a dark stripe along each side and around the snout. The scales anterior to the dorsal fin are outlined with dark coloration. The front of the dorsal fin base is closer to the base of the caudal fin than to the front of the eye. There is no coloration in the fins, but the lips and chin have dark coloring. Teeth are present in the throat. Adults can reach about two and three-fourths inches in length.

The ribbon shiner prefers to live in water with a sandy bottom and a slight current. It is often found in ditches. The water may be clear or turbid. Ribbon shiners swim in schools in mid-water or near the surface. Not much is known about their life history. They may spawn in early summer. This fish is believed to eat insects and plant materials.

Illinois Range


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

Illinois Status: common, native