• Family: Cyprinidae (Minnows and Carps)
• Other Names: None
• Ohio Status: Threatened
• Adult Size: Typically 2-3 inches, can reach 3.5 inches.
• Typical Foods: Various aquatic invertebrates, and terrestrial insects that fall in the water or fly just above the surface.
Bigeye shiners, as the name suggests, have a very large eye. Additionally, the tip of the lower jaw has black pigment. This pigment is the beginning of a black stripe that runs through the eye, across the gills, and along the side to the base of the tail. The scales on the back and upper sides have distinct dark edges. There is a narrow stripe of golden colored scales that lack any dark edges just above the black stripe along the sides that sharply contrasts with the back and stripe. Bigeye shiners have a complete lateral line. The fins are all transparent with no markings and there are 8 rays in the anal fin. Bigeye shiners differ from the popeye shiner, which also has a very large eye, by not having a distinctive deep dip in the lateral line, a more distinct stripe along the sides, and 8 rather than 9 anal fin rays. Bigeye shiners are also very similar in coloration to the blackchin shiner. However, blackchin shiners have an incomplete lateral line, smaller eye, and are found in glacial lakes rather than small streams like bigeye shiners.
Habitat and Habits
Bigeye shiners are found in pools of small very clear streams with sand or gravel substrate and often cease to flow in late summer trapping them in the pools. They are very intolerant of turbid (murky) waters and have become a very rare species in Ohio. They can still be found in the southwest part of the state occasionally in the Little Miami River system and other direct Ohio River tributaries such as White Oak and Turkey Creeks. There may also still be a population in parts of the Scioto River tributary Sunfish Creek.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
Bigeye shiners have been found in spawning condition throughout the summer months but little is known about how or where they spawn.