Notropis atherinoides
Emerald Shiner

Emerald Shiner

Flora, fauna, earth, and sky...
The natural history of the northwoods



  • Notropis, from the Greek, "back keel"
  • atherinoides, from the Greek, "silverside like", from its superficial resemblance to members of the Silverside family Antherinidae.
  • Common name from its emerald green back
  • Other common names include: Buckery Shiner, Common Emerald Shiner, Lake Shiner, Lake Silver Side, Plains Shiner, River Emerald Shiner, Shiner


  • Kingdom Animalia
    • Phylum Chordata, animals with a spinal chord
    • Subphylum Vertebrata, animals with a backbone
      • Superclass Osteichthyes, bony fishes
      • Class Actinopterygii, ray-finned and spiny rayed fishes
      • Subclass Neopterygii
      • Infraclass Teleostei
        • Superorder Ostariophysi
        • Order Cypriniformes, minnows and suckers
        • Family Cyprinidae, carps and minnows
          • Genus Notropis, the eastern shiners
  • Plains Shiner (Notropis percobromus) was recently incorporated into the Emerald Shiner species designation.


  •  A small, hardy minnow of larger bodies of water.
  • Length to 3½"
  • Weight
  • Coloration
    • emerald green back
    • distinctive silver lateral band
    • white belly
  • Body
    • elliptical, slab-sided
    • dorsal fin transparent, with 8 rays; located distinctly behind the insertion of the pelvic fins.
    • anal fin of 10-12 rays
    • pectoral fins of 13-17 rays
    • complete lateral line of 35-41 scales
  • Head
    • mouth large, terminal, oblique
    • no barbel
    • pharyngeal teeth hooked, on strong arches in a 2, 4-4, 2 pattern
  • Lifespan rarely to their third summer



  • Across southern Canada from Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence to the southern part of the Northwest Territories, south to the gulf coast from Texas to Alabama.


  • A fish of big waters, it is a midwater or near-surface species that usually lives in large or moderate sized schools. In the spring, they often make vertical migrations, approaching the surface at night and retreating to deeper water during the day.


  • A midwater plankton cropper, feeding on a variety of zooplankton with some blue-green algae and diatoms.
  • Protozoans are important in the diet of the young-of-the-year and fish and insect larvae are taken by adults.
  • Forages on terrestrial and aquatic insects at the surface.



  • An important bait species where abundant.


  • Spawns late spring/early summer, sometimes as late as mid-August.
  • Water temperatures at spawn are around 75º F
  • Eggs hatch in 24-32 hours.
  • Population numbers fluctuate; they are extremely abundant in some years, scarce in others.



Boreal border

Last updated on 21 October 1999