The emerald shiner (Notropis atherinoides) is a narrow, delicate and tiny fish that is part of the family Cyprinidae, which is also known as the minnow family. These robust minnows feed mostly on zooplankton, phytoplankton, algae, bug larvae and bugs, such as midges. Emerald shiners are frequently used as fishing bait, although only in places where they are very populous. They are also occasionally known as common emeralds and buckery shiners.
Emerald Shiner Identification
Emerald shiners usually reach body lengths of between 2 and 4 inches, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. In terms of coloration, emerald shiners are usually silver with pale green backs and sides. These wide-eyed fish usually have pale belly regions and conspicuously tiny heads. Emerald shiners' fins are devoid of any blots and are clear in color.
Emerald Shiner Geography
Geographically speaking, these wee fish cover a lot of diverse territory throughout North America, beginning all the way from the southern portion of Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico -- with many different states in between, including Ohio, New York, Alabama, Texas, Montana and Utah.
Emerald Shiner Natural Habitat
Emerald shiners prefer living in open water environments, and generally don't travel very far away from the top. However, they sometimes remain at mid-water. Most emerald shiners inhabit big streams, reservoirs and rivers. They tend to gravitate toward bodies of water that move at somewhat slow and calm paces. Emerald shiners are usually capable of managing well in muddy water habitats, as well. As far as substrate goes, emerald shiners are very adaptable.
Emerald Shiner Spawning
Emerald shiners are mass spawners, and because of that do not look after their youngsters once they release their eggs into the water. It takes approximately 24 hours for emerald shiner eggs to hatch. Reproductive activities take place in open water settings. Emerald shiners generally achieve reproductive maturity once they hit 2 years old. Spawning takes place in the summer every year, usually in July, but sometimes earlier or later on in the season. As far as life expectancy goes, it is very uncommon for emerald shiners to survive past their third year.