Notropis volucellus
Mimic Shiner

Mimic Shiner

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The natural history of the northwoods



  • Notropis, from the Greek, "back keel"
  • volucellus, from the Latin, "swift"
  • 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, eastern shiners


  • A small, silvery minnow of open waters.
  • Length 3"
  • Weight
  • Coloration
    • back is straw colored
    • silvery sides
    • whitish belly
    • scales on back have a light pigment edge giving the fish a cross-hatched appearance
    • dark pigment around the vent and base of the anal fin, which is absent or faint in the bigmouth and sand shiners.
    • lateral band varies from distinct to faint among fish from different populations.
  • Body
    • slender and slightly compressed laterally
    • dorsal and anal fins of 8 rays and rounded in shape
    • pectoral fins of 12-15 rays
    • pelvic fins of 9 rays
    • complete, elevated lateral line of 33-38 scales with a spot above and below each pore.
    • poorly developed or absent mid-dorsal stripe
  • Head
    • mouth small, sub-terminal
    • no barbel present
    • hooked pharyngeal teeth on slender arches, in a 4-4 pattern.
  • Lifespan



  • Central North America, from the St. Lawrence to the Red River of the North and south to the gulf coast, with disjunct populations in Virginia and North Carolina.


  • Lakes and the quieter parts of streams, with moderate to swift current over sand bars or spoil banks, often around vegetation.


  • Feeds at mid-depth on insect larvae, terrestrial insects, zooplankton, algae and other plant debris; especially favors midge adults and larvae.




  • Spawns late May through June, in aquatic vegetation with no nesting or parental care. Possibly spawns at night in moderately deep water.
  • Spawning adults generally 1 and 2 year olds and few 3-year-olds.



Boreal border

Last updated on 31 October 1999