• Family: Cyprinidae (minnows and carps)
• Other Names: None
• Ohio Status: No special status
• Adult Size: Typically 2-4 inches, can reach 5 inches.
• Typical Foods: Various aquatic invertebrates.
Steelcolor shiners are silver-blue in color with a darker back and lighter cream colored belly. They are laterally compressed (flat side to side) and have a distinctive diamond shaped crosshatching pattern on the sides formed by dark scale edges. They have a dusky blotch on the webbing of the dorsal fin between the 3 rear fin rays. Additionally they have many small speckles of dark pigment in front of this blotch on the webbing of the dorsal fin which has a rounded rear edge on larger individuals. They have 9 anal fin rays and have a relatively deep body. Breeding male steelcolor shiners have intensely steel blue colored sides, a red tip to the end of the snout, and fins flushed with yellow. The closely related spotfin shiner differs by having a straight rear edge to the dorsal fin, no dark speckles of pigment in the front half of the dorsal fin, only 8 anal fin rays, and not as deep of a body. Additionally breeding male spotfin shiners lack the red tip to their snout and Ohio specimens (this is not true for their entire range) have fins flushed with white rather than yellow. Breeding males of both species have white tips to the fins which are often visible to an observer above the waters surface.
Habitat and Habits
Steelcolor shiners are only found in the Ohio River drainage in Ohio and are most common in southern Ohio from the Hocking River westward. They are found in medium to large rivers in areas with moderate current often near submerged fallen trees or brush.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
Steelcolor shiners spawn in crevices between rocks or in bark on submerged fallen trees. Spawning takes place throughout the warmer months of the year starting in late May or early June.