Notropis stramineus
Sand Shiner

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The natural history of the northwoods



  • Notropis, from the Greek, "back keel"
  • stramineus, from the Latin, "of straw", a reference to the color of preserved specimens
  • Common Name
  • Other common names include:


  • 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 common midwestern minnow.
  • Length 2½"
  • Coloration
    • back straw or light olive with scales edged in pigment
    • sides silvery
    • belly silver-white
    • faint, bluish lateral band may be found
    • mid-dorsal stripe prominent, widening to a wedge before the dorsal fin; does not run around the base of the dorsal fin as it extends towards the tail.
    • inconspicuous spot may be present at the end of the caudal peduncle
  • Body
    • slender form, slightly compressed laterally
    • dorsal and pelvic fins of 8 rays
    • anal fin of 7 rays
    • pectoral fins of 13/14 rays
    • complete lateral line of 35-38 scales, and the pores are outlined above and below with pigment, a feature termed "mouse tracks."
  • Head
    • mouth terminal, slightly oblique
    • no barbel present
    • pharyngeal teeth hooked, on moderate arches in 4-4 pattern



  • North Dakota to St. Lawrence and Ohio River drainages, south to Mexico.
  • All Minnesota drainages except the Superior drainage.


  • Middle portions of small streams and rivers. Extremely rare in lakes.
  • Prefers flowing water over sand or gravel bottoms, where it usually is the dominant fish species.


  • Aquatic insects, plant material, crustaceans, and detritus.




  • A prolonged spawning period from late spring to autumn.



Boreal border

Last updated on 29 October 1999