Striped Shiner (Luxilus chrysocephalus)

Striped Shiner (Luxilus chrysocephalus)

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.


The 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.


Adults can exceed 8 inches in length, but most are less than 5 inches long; they can live up to 6 years.

Spawning behavior

Striped 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.


Striped shiners feed mainly on insects, but their diet may also include detritus, algae, fish eggs, crayfish, and small fish.

Other Names



The subspecies L. c. chrysocephalus extends throughout drainages of the lower Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast; L. c. isolepis occurs in drainages of the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River basins north of the Red River in Arkansas.


Striped shiners occur in water bodies ranging from small streams to small rivers but are most abundant in small to medium streams. Their preferred habitats are pools, runs, and backwaters of flowing streams. They are more common in free-flowing streams with clear or slightly turbid water.