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Montana Field Guides

Redside Shiner - Richardsonius balteatus

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5

Agency Status
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General Description
The redside shiner is native to Montana west of the Divide and has been introduced into our eastern drainage, probably by bait fishermen. It likely was given its common name because red develops on its sides during the breeding season. The preferred habitat of this fish is cold, clear ponds, lakes and the slow water of streams. It can often be found in schools. The largest redside shiners are about 7 inches long. Populations of these fish can reach nuisance proportions in the lakes of western Montana.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Dark olive to brown on back; dark midside band from snout to tail fin with a narrow light stripe above it; lower sides silver with a reddish wash; underside silvery. Breeding fish highly colored; male has brilliant red and yellow on sides and belly, female is less striking. Body moderately deep and flat sided, front of dorsal fin well behind front of pelvic fins.

Species Range
Montana Range

Year-round

Western Hemisphere Range

 


Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 639

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

Recency

 

(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)



Habitat
Lakes, ponds, and larger rivers where current is weak or lacking (Brown 1971).

Food Habits
Young feed mainly on plankton and adults eat mostly aquatic insects and snails (Brown 1971).

Ecology
Important forage fish for salmonids. Redside small shiner x peamouth and Redside small shiner x Northern pikeminnow hybrids have both been found in Montana.

Reproductive Characteristics
Sexually mature in 2-3 yrs. Usually spawns June-July but may spawn as early as may and as late as August. Spawns in schools (Brown 1971).

References
  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Brown, C.J.D. 1971. Fishes of Montana. Montana State University, Bozeman, MT. 207 pp.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Nelson, M.L. 1999. Evaluation of the potential for resident bull trout to reestablish the migratory life-form. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 72 p.
    • Rahrer, J.F. 1963. Age and growth of four species of fish, Flathead Lake, Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 16 p.
    • Reinhart, D.P. 1990. Grizzly bear habitat use on cutthroat trout spawning streams in tributaries of Yellowstone Lake. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 128 p.
    • Sylvester, R. and B. Marotz. 2006. Evaluation of the Biological Effects of the Northwest Power Conservation Council's Mainstem Amendment on the Fisheries Upstream and Downstream of Hungry Horse and Libby Dams, Montana. Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Annual Report prepared for U.S. Department of EnergyBonneville Power Administration. Bonneville Power Administration Project No. 2006-008-00 Contract No. 28350. 124 p.Contract No. 28350
    • Sylvester, R., A. Steed, J. Tohtz, and B. Marotz. 2008. Evaluation of the Biological Effects of the Northwest Power Conservation Council's Mainstem Amendment on the Fisheries Upstream and Downstream of Hungry Horse and Libby Dams, Montana. Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Annual Report prepared for U.S. Department of EnergyBonneville Power Administration. Bonneville Power Administration Project No. 2006-008-00 Contract No. 28350. 124 p.Contract No. 28350
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Citation for data on this website:
Redside Shiner — Richardsonius balteatus.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from