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Blackchin Shiner

Blackchin Shiner, photo courtesy of Konrad P. Schmidt, copyright Konrad P. Schmidt


This minnow species has a stout, terete body form. Body color is olive-straw, overlaid with silvery on the back, shading to silvery-white on the belly. A distinctive character is the prominent lateral band, which surrounds the snout and lower mandible giving rise to the common name. This band also passes through the eye and along the body to the caudal fin. The terminal mouth has an oblique angle and has no barbell. Strongly hooked pharyngeal teeth, with well developed cutting edges, are arranged in a pattern of 1, 4-4, 1. Dorsal, anal and pelvic fins have 8 rays and the pectoral fins contain 12-14 rays. The lateral line has 36 scales, but not all have pores. These are scales on the breast in front of the pectoral fins.


Blackchin Shiner Distribution

Not found in any Iowa rivers since 1894, the last collection of the Blackchin Shiner in Iowa was from West Okoboji Lake in 1932. Historically, Blackchin Shiners were collected from 6 stream locations and in 4 natural lakes in the northern part of Iowa. This species is now considered extirpated from the state because of a radically changed habitat. The Blackchin Shiner was found in scattered locations across the state with its continental range centering around the Great Lakes region, extending east to New York and westward into Minnesota.


Aquatic insects and cladocera (zooplankton) at the water surface.

State Record

State Records are not documented for non-game species.

Expert Tip

Blackchin Shiners require clear, vegetated water over a sand bottom, and since this habitat is nonexistent in Iowa, this species also no longer exists in Iowa.


Blackchin Shiners prefer clear, well-vegetated water over a bottom of sand, gravel, or organic detritus, disappearing almost immediately when waters became turbid, the bottoms silt-covered bottom. This species is now considered extirpated from the state because of a radically changed habitat. Having a northern range, the Blackshin Shiner is characteristic of the glacial lake district inhabiting shallow areas of glacial lakes, potholes and streams which are usually lake outlets or inlets.

Recent stream sampling has not resulted in the discovery of any individual Blackchin Shiners. Complete stream sampling information is available from Iowa DNR's biological monitoring and assessment program.

The Blackchin Shiner is viewed as extirpated according to the Iowa Wildlife Action Plan.



Harlan, J.R., E.B. Speaker, and J. Mayhew. 1987. Iowa fish and fishing. Iowa Conservation Commission, Des Moines, Iowa. 323pp.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Wildlife Action Plan

Loan-Wilsey, A. K., C. L. Pierce, K. L. Kane, P. D. Brown and R. L. McNeely. 2005. The Iowa Aquatic Gap Analysis Project Final Report. Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Iowa State University, Ames.

Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Konrad P. Schmidt, copyright Konrad P. Schmidt.


Present in these Iowa water bodies: