Common Shiner (Luxilus cornutus)

Common Shiner (Luxilus cornutus)

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.


The 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.


Common shiners are usually 3 to 4 inches long but can grow to 8 inches.

Spawning behavior

Common 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.


Common shiners feed mainly on insects and insect larvae, but their diet may also include plant material, fish eggs, and small fish.

Other Names



This species occurs throughout the Mississippi River, the Hudson Bay, the Great Lakes, and the Atlantic basins from Nova Scotia to Saskatchewan, south to Missouri and Virginia.


Common shiners are most prevalent in small to moderate-size streams, preferring areas that are clear and without fast-moving water. They will tolerate a small amount of silt but not muddy water.