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Montana Animal Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Emerald Shiner - Notropis atherinoides

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Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:
FWP Conservation Tier: 3


 

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General Description
The emerald shiner belongs to a genus that contains about 100 species of minnows commonly called shiners. Emerald shiners are schooling fish native to the Missouri-Yellowstone River basin. They seem to prefer the larger prairie rivers and the open central waters of impoundments. Fish with this type of habitat preference are called pelagic. In some areas of the U.S., this fish has been widely introduced for forage; that is, as food for the larger predatory game fish. Although they are of lesser importance as prey in Montana, emerald shiners do have some value as a commercial bait fish in eastern Montana. They grow to about 4 inches in length.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Overall silvery with iridescent light green back. Usually has an emerald green or silvery midside stripe, particularly toward the rear. Young are somewhat translucent. Eye large. Body slender and flat sided, fragile looking. Scales easily rubbed off.

General Distribution
Montana Range



Western Hemisphere Range

 


Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 3822

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

 

(Records associated with a range of dates are excluded from time charts)



Migration
Makes spawning run to lower Marias River.

Habitat
Preferred habitat is larger streams and their impoundments. It is pelagic and avoids areas with aquatic vegetation. Prefers main channel border as specific habitat type.

Food Habits
Food consists largely of zooplankton and small aquatic insects; but some algae and terrestrial insects have been found in stomachs.

Ecology
Important food item of sport fishes, particularly burbot, rainbow trout, and northern pike.

Reproductive Characteristics
Sexually mature at 2 yrs. Spawns in July - August. Spawning has been shown to peak mid to late July in middle Missouri River study.

References
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Citation for data on this website:
Emerald Shiner — Notropis atherinoides.  Montana Field Guide.  Montana Natural Heritage Program and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  Retrieved on September 1, 2014, from http://FieldGuide.mt.gov/detail_AFCJB28120.aspx
 
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