Notropis hudsonius
Spottail Shiner

Spottail Shiner

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The natural history of the northwoods



  • Notropis, from the Greek, "back keel"
  • hudsonius, for the Hudson river, where this species was first collected
  • Common Name, from the large, prominent spot at the base of the caudal peduncle
  • Other common names include: Shiner, Spawneater, Spottail, Spottail Minnow, Sucking Carp


  • 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


  • A medium sized minnow of larger streams
  • Length 3"-4"
  • Coloration
    • very pale olive
    • silvery sides and belly
    • large prominent spot at the base of the tail, dorsal, and anal fins
  • Body
    • moderately robust and slab-sided
    • complete lateral line of 36-39 scales
    • dorsal fin, set directly over the pelvic fins, anal fin, and pelvic fins contain 8 rays
    • pectoral fins of 13-15 rays.
    • dorsal and anal fins are more deeply falcate than other Notropis species
  • Head
    • sub-terminal mouth nearly horizontal
    • barbel lacking
    • pharyngeal teeth flat, hooked; supported on heavy arches and with a variable pattern of 0, 4-4, 0 to 2, 4-4, 2


  • A large, prominent spot at the base of the caudal peduncle, the basis of its common name, helps distinguish it from other large, pale, and silvery shiners.


  • Mackenzie River to the St. Lawrence and south to the Missouri drainage and southern Illinois. On the Atlantic slope, from New Hampshire to the Chattahoochee.


  • Large lakes and rivers to small streams.
  • Does best in clear waters.
  • The "big-water" member of the minnow family


  • Aquatic insects and larvae, zooplankton, and some plant material.


  • Originally described as Clupea hudsonius in 1824 by DeWitt Clinton, whose work as an accomplished naturalist and scientist has been eclipsed by his later career as Governor of New York and candidate for President of the US.



  • Spawns June to July over sand and gravel creek bottoms.



Boreal border

Last updated on 17 October 1999