emerald green back with a distinctive silver lateral band and a white belly, mouth is large, terminal and oblique, elliptical body shape and slab-sided
large interior streams and border rivers in Iowa, rare in smaller streams
3 1/2 inches
The emerald shiner is an inhabitant of large interior streams and Great Border Rivers in Iowa, where it is abundant. Distribution is widespread, but it is most prevalent in the Cedar, Des Moines, Mississippi, and Missouri rivers. Smaller streams have emerald shiner populations, but they are usually rare in fish collections. It has been introduced as a forage fish into Rathbun Reservoir.
Emerald shiner has an elliptical body shape and they are slab-sided. They appear fragile and delicate, but in truth it is a hardy minnow. Their mouth is large, terminal, oblique, and has no barbel. The transparent dorsal fin contains 8 rays, and it is located distinctly behind the insertion of the pelvic fins. The anal fin contains from 10 to 12 rays, and the pectoral fins contain from 13 to 17 rays. Hooked pharyngeal teeth on strong arches are arranged in a 2, 4-4, 2 pattern. Body color consists of an emerald green back, a distinct silver lateral band, and a white belly. A complete lateral line has from 35 to 41 scales.
This cyprinid inhabits the mid-depth to surface waters of the main channel and chutes in large streams, where they often are found in large schools. Spawning occurs from late May to mid-July. Young fish feed exclusively on algae. Adults may reach up to 3 l/2 inches in length and forage on terrestrial and aquatic insects at the surface.
The plains shiner (Notropis percobromus) was recently incorporated into the emerald shiner species designation.