Search

Topeka Shiner

Notropis topeka
Family: 
Cyprinidae (minnows) in the order Cypriniformes (carps, minnows and loaches)
Description: 

A small minnow with an olive-yellow back, dark-edged scales and silvery-white sides and belly. A dark stripe runs along the fish's sides and extends on to the head.

All of the fins are plain except for the tail fin, which has a triangular black spot at its base. The anal fin has six to eight rays, usually seven. There is a dark stripe on the back in front of the dorsal fin. Breeding males have orange-red fins and orange-tinted heads and bodies.

The upper jaw does not extend beyond the front of the eye. Numerous bumps are located on the snout, the top of the head, most of the body and along the rays of some of the fins. The bumps are largest and most numerous around the head.

Size: 
Total length: to 3 inches.
Habitat and conservation: 
School in midwater or near the surface in runs and pools of small, moderately clear upland creeks with substrates of sand, gravel, rubble and bedrock. Though the streams may cease to flow in summer, percolating groundwater or spring flow maintain some permanent pools. Conservation includes habitat restoration, animal containment areas, sustainable sand- and gravel-removal procedures, and urban sewer-system upgrades.
Foods: 
Probably insects, although its food habits are not well documented.
Distribution in Missouri: 
This species is not abundant at any location, but the largest concentrations occur in small streams in central Missouri.
Status: 
Endangered (state and federal)--listed by both the Missouri Department of Conservation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Life cycle: 
Topeka shiners spawn in silt-free gravel from late May to mid-July. They spawn over the nests of green and orange-spotted sunfish. Males are larger than females and defend small territories around the edge of sunfish nests. The maximum life span is three summers.
Human connections: 
Minnows are more than "baitfish"; anyone who has owned an aquarium can attest to the intrinsic beauty of small fishes. Minnows also exhibit a diversity of interesting habits and adaptations, with unusual breeding colors (here, the orange-red fins of the breeding males) and nest-building behaviors.
Ecosystem connections: 
We've all heard the old saw about the "big fish" eating the "little fish"--but it's an ecological fact that small fishes, famously the minnows, form a critical food source for all the animals that feed on them, and all the animals that feed on them!
Shortened URL
http://mdc.mo.gov/node/5165