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Golden Shiner – Notemigonus Genus of North America

Golden Shiner Native to North America

The Golden Shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas) is a freshwater fish in the Cyprinidae family, order Cypriniformes. A native cyprinid fish of North America and the sole member of the Notemigonus genus. While, widely a pond-cultured fish they may also be used as a bait fish. The name, Notemigonus crysoleucas is derived from the Greek words meaning “angled back” and “golden white”.

Description of the Golden Shiner

Golden Shiner

A laterally compressed, deep bodied fish. Generally, ranging in lengths between 3 inches and 4.9 inches. However, may reach in excess of 12 inches. While, their backs are dark green or olive and their bellies silvery white.

Meanwhile, the sides of smaller fish tend to golden. Further, there may be faint dusky stripes along the sides. While, the dorsal fin consists of 8 rays, the anal fin has 8 – 19 rays. Fairly large scales adorn the body which are easily lost when handled.

Further, have small upturned mouths. However, they have two very distinct characteristics which include the lateral line which has a pronounced downward curve with the lowest point being just above the pelvic fin.

Secondly, they have a fleshy keel which lacks scales on the belly between the pelvic fins and the base of the anal fin. While, the lack of scales on the keel is the only distinguishing factor between the Golden Shiner and the Rudd.

Biology of the Golden Shiner

Generally, a social fish living in large groups that roam widely. Feeding in nearshore zones within an hour of sunset.

Inhabit quiet waters and weedy areas. Therefore, prevalent in lakes, ponds, sloughs, ditches and quiet parts of rivers. While, capable of tolerating pollution, turbidity and low oxygen contents. As well as, temperatures in excess of 104°F.


Found throughout the eastern half of the North America. North to St Lawrence River, Great Lakes and Lake Winnipeg. And West to North Dakota, South Dakota and Texas. While, the use of the Golden Shiner as a bait fish, encouraged introduction to various places outside their native range.

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