• Family: Cyprinidae (minnows and carps)
• Other Names: None
• Ohio Status: No special status
• Adult Size: Typically 2-3 inches, can reach 4 inches.
• Typical Foods: Various aquatic invertebrates.
Scarlet shiners have a dark blotch at the front base of the dorsal fin. This species is laterally compressed (flat side to side) and has a rather long slender body. They have 4-11 distinct saddle bands over the back and upper sides (more visible on males). The sides are silver-blue in color with a darker back and lighter white or cream belly. Breeding males can be a bright shiny blue color with bright red fins. Females can get some faint red on the fins but it is much less visible than that of males. Scarlet shiners differ from the closely related redfin shiner by having a more slender body, 4-11 distinct saddle bars, and by having fewer anal fin rays on average (9-11, usually 10).
Habitat and Habits
Scarlet shiners are found in pools with some flow of small to medium sized streams and are not tolerant of turbid (murky) water or silt. They can also be found in larger rivers but often in low numbers. They are found in Southwest Ohio from the Scioto River drainage westward. They are replaced by the closely related redfin shiner in the rest of Ohio.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
Scarlet shiners spawn throughout late spring and summer over clean sand or fine gravel substrates often in swift riffles. They will often use the nests of larger minnow species for spawning but are not obligated to do so.