Search Field Guide
Advanced Search
MT Gov Logo
Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Red Shiner - Cyprinella lutrensis

Non-native Species
Not Documented

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: SNA
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status


External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
A conservation status rank is not applicable because this species is not a suitable target for conservation activities as a result of being exotic or introduced.
General Description
The red shiner (Cyprinella lutrensis) is a North American species of freshwater fish in the family Cyprinidae. They are deep-bodied and laterally compressed and can grow to about three inches in length. For most of the year, both males and females have silver sides and whitish abdomens. Males in breeding coloration (late-spring to early summer), though, have iridescent pink-purple-blue sides and a red crown and fins (except the dorsal fin which remains dark).

Range Comments
Native to the Mississippi drainage as far north as the Missouri River in S.Dakota (Lake Oahe dam) and eastern Wyoming (North Platte River) as well as some Gulf drainages, but considered invasive elsewhere.
Mississippi River basin from southern Wisconsin and eastern Indiana to South Dakota and Wyoming and south to Louisiana; Gulf drainages west of Mississippi River to Rio Grande, Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado. Absent in Ozark and Ouachita uplands (Page and Burr 1991).

This species is not known to occur in any waterbodies in the state of Montana. The closest occurrence of this introduced minnow is in the Green River Watershed of Wyoming which flows south to Utah.

This species does not migrate. The origin of most introduced Red Shiner populations can be attributed to bait bucket releases; however, initial introduction is often followed by the species' rapid multiplication, dispersal, and aggressive colonization (e.g., Hubbs and Lagler 1958; Minckley and Deacon 1968; Minckley 1973). In some areas dispersal of introduced populations has been aided by the presence of irrigation ditches and canals (e.g., Jennings and Saiki 1990). Koehn (1965) mentioned that the species has been introduced as a forage fish.

Red shiners can inhabit rivers, slow streams and lakes. They generally are not found in the higher velocity areas (riffles and runs), but more likely inhabiting the pool areas.

Food Habits
Red shiners can live up to three years. They are omnivorous; they eat both aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates, as well as algae. Red shiners have also been known to eat the eggs and larvae of native fish found in locations where they have been introduced.

The origin of most introduced Red Shiner populations can be attributed to bait bucket releases and that the species has been introduced as a forage fish. Therefore, the easiest method to prevent the spread of this minnow into Montana's waterbodies, is to prevent the transport of live fish between waterbodies and regulation of bait shop minnow sales.

Login Logout
Citation for data on this website:
Red Shiner — Cyprinella lutrensis.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from