The striped shiner is a common and widespread minnow of the Cyprinidae family that is familiar to anglers who use it as bait or observe it spawning over the gravel nests built by other minnows. Two subspecies are recognized: Luxilus chrysocephalus chrysocephalus and L. c. isolepis.
IdentificationThe striped shiner is a silvery, laterally compressed minnow with large eyes and a terminal mouth. The exposed portion of its scales near the anterior lateral line is much more deep than it is wide. Anterior portions of scales are darkly pigmented, giving a crescent-shaped appearance to the sides.
Several parallel stripes run along each side of the upper body and converge posterior to the dorsal ﬁn. L. c. chrysocephalus has wavy stripes, whereas L. c. isolepis has straight stripes. Other characteristics include 8 to 10 anal ﬁn rays and a complete lateral line with 36 to 42 scales. The nuptial male develops a rosy pink color on its head, its body, and the margins of all ﬁns and has tubercles on the head, the snout, the lower jaw, and the pectoral ﬁns.
Size/AgeAdults can exceed 8 inches in length, but most are less than 5 inches long; they can live up to 6 years.
Spawning behaviorStriped shiners reach sexual maturity in their second year. Adult males are larger than females. Spawning occurs from late spring to early summer in water temperatures ranging from 61° to 81°F.
Striped shiners are classiﬁed as pit spawners. Males excavate small pits on the top of chub nests or directly on the stream bottom and aggressively defend these pits while attempting to secure females for spawning. Because of their tendency to spawn over chub nests, striped shiners often hybridize with chub and with other minnows that use nests.