The common shiner is an abundant minnow of the Cyprinidae family that is commonly used as a baitﬁsh. It has been known to hybridize with striped shiners.
IdentificationThe common shiner is silvery with a deep compressed body, a dusky dorsal stripe, large eyes, diamond-shaped scales that ﬂake off easily, and nine anal rays. It has no barbels and no dark lateral stripe, but there is a dark stripe along the middle of the generally olive-colored back. During the spawning season, males develop blue backs and red or pink bodies, with pinkish ﬁns, and display large tubercles on their heads, their pectoral ﬁns, and anterior parts of their bodies.
SizeCommon shiners are usually 3 to 4 inches long but can grow to 8 inches.
Spawning behaviorCommon shiners spawn in the late spring in water temperatures ranging from 60° to 65°F. They are diverse spawners, preferring to use the nests of other minnows such as chub and fallfish, but they also spawn over gravel or in excavated depressions in gravel or sand.
Groups of males gather at the spawning site and vie for position at the upstream end of the nesting area. Spawning occurs when the male wraps his body around a female and drives her toward the nest. Because they often spawn in nests constructed by other minnow species, hybridization is common.