Notropis longirostrisLongnose shiner

Geographic Range

Longnose shiners are widely distributed throughout the southeastern coastal states of the United States. Their range extends from just west of the Mississippi River in Louisiana to Florida. More specifically, they are found throughout Louisiana's Florida parishes in the west, northward into the lower Ouachita River drainige system in Catahoula Parish in Louisiana and the lower part of the Yazoo River drainage system in Mississippi, to the upper Altamaha River drainage system in Georgia in the northeast. They are also found in the Ocmulgee River system in Georgia and in isolated populations in the upper Coosa River system and several smaller tributaries in the Alabama River drainage system. (Bart, et al., 1995; Douglas, 1974; Ross, 2001)


Longnose shiners are a riverine-dependent and require a free-flowing body of water with sandy substrate. Over time, they have adapted systems with currents as well. Typical habitat includes rivers with white, sandy stream bottoms with low to moderate water flow. They are often found along open sandbars and shoals. They are also commonly found in areas where stream banks are covered with woody or brushy vegetation. (Douglas, 1974; Heins and Clemmer, 1975; Jordan, 1989)

  • Aquatic Biomes
  • rivers and streams

Physical Description

Longnose shiners are small elongate fish that are usually no more than 58 to 65 mm in length. Mature males average 34.9 mm in length while females average 33.8 mm. They have a rounded head with a long blunt snout and a subterminal mouth. They have small eyes, which are located high on their head. Their dorsal and anal fins are equally elevated on the fish. Their dorsal fin has 8 rays and begins anterior to the pelvic fin. The , pectoral, and pelvic fins have 7, 14 to 15, and 8 rays, respectively. The lateral line is complete and slightly decurved. This species has 34 to 37 lateral line scales. Longnose shiners are a sandy to straw color, and are typically pale yellow above the lateral line. They also have a thin mid-dorsal stripe. The ventral side is typically white or silvery in color. Fins of breeding individuals, particularly males, are bright yellow. (Ross, 2001)

  • Average length
    male 34.9 mm; female 33.8 mm


In longnose shiners, the size of a mature ovum is strongly correlated with the size of the female, which is also correlated with the amount of surface runoff in the area. Mature ova average between 0.84 and 0.95 mm in diameter. The sex ratio of longnose shiners is typically 1:1. (Ross, 2001)


Little information is available regarding the mating systems of longnose shiners.

The breeding season of longnose shiners lasts from March until October, and they generally produce multiple clutches during a breeding season. Breeding peaks at the beginning of the season and again in the middle of the season around July. Females average 62 to 121 mature ova per clutch, although they can produce anywhere from 15 to 129 eggs. Some longnose shiners reach sexual maturity during their first year, and thus some individuals may reproduce during their first year. Longnose shiners do not prepare the substrate for a spawning event. They practice broadcast spawning, which refers to the scattering of eggs and sperm. This type of reproduction lends itself to a lack of parental care to both egg and larvae. (Mayden, 1992; Ross, 2001; Stallsmith, et al., 2007; Williams and Bonner, 2006)

  • Breeding interval
    Longnose shiners generally produce multiple clutches during the breeding season.
  • Breeding season
    Longnose shiners breed between March and October.
  • Range number of offspring
    15 to 129
  • Average number of offspring
    62 to 121

Longnose shiners do not prepare the substrate for a spawning event. There is no parental care of eggs or larvae in this species. (Mayden, 1992)

  • Parental Investment
  • no parental involvement


Longnose shiners are expected to live between 1 and 2.5 years in the wild. Most do not survive until their third winter. (Ross, 2001)

  • Typical lifespan
    Status: wild
    3 (high) years
  • Average lifespan
    Status: wild
    1 to 2.5 years


Longnose shiners have adapted to flowing water in the recent past. One of the mechanisms of survival that allows them to swim and forage in a moving environment is oral grasping, which occurs when a fish latches onto a surface in its environment to counteract the current present in the stream. Longnose shiners generally feed during the day. (Adams, et al., 2003; Keplinger, 2007)

Home Range

Little information is available regarding the home range of longnose shiners.

Communication and Perception

Little information is available regarding communication and perception of longnose shiners. Like all fish, they have a lateral line that runs along middle of their body, from the opercle to the beginning of their caudal fin. Its functions include water current sensation and vibration detection.

Food Habits

Longnose shiners generally feed during the day. They primarily feed on dipteran larvae and other aquatic insects. The only terrestrial insect they eat are ants. They also consume copepods, cladocerans (small crustaceans called water fleas), seeds of various sedges (Cyperaceae), and occasionally ostracods, as well as microscopic plants such as diatoms (Bacillariophyceae), desmids (Desmidiales), filamentous algae, and aquatic fungi. (Heins and Clemmer, 1975; Keplinger, 2007)

  • Animal Foods
  • insects
  • aquatic crustaceans
  • other marine invertebrates
  • Plant Foods
  • seeds, grains, and nuts
  • algae
  • Other Foods
  • fungus


Longnose shiners are preyed upon by larger piscivorous fish. (Steiner, et al., 2000)

Ecosystem Roles

Longnose shiners consume a variety of insects and plant material and serve as prey to larger fish.

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

Shiners are often used as bait by anglers. (Steiner, et al., 2000)

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

There are no known adverse effects of longnose shiners on humans.

Conservation Status

Populations of longnose shiners are considered to be ecologically stable. (Ross, 2001)


Morgan Richardson (author), Louisiana State University, Prosanta Chakrabarty (editor), Louisiana State University, Gail McCormick (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff, Catherine Kent (editor), Special Projects.



living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

World Map

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


an animal that mainly eats meat


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature

external fertilization

fertilization takes place outside the female's body


union of egg and spermatozoan


mainly lives in water that is not salty.


An animal that eats mainly insects or spiders.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.


specialized for swimming

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


uses touch to communicate


that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).


Adams, S., G. Adams, J. Hoover. 2003. Oral Grasping: A Distinctive Behavior of Cyprinids for Maintaining Station in Flowing Water. Copeia, 4: 851–857..

Bart, H., J. Taylor, J. Harbaugh, S. Schleiger, W. Clark. 1995. New distribution records of Gulf Slope drainage fishes in the Ocmulgee River system, Georgia. Southeastern Fishes Council Proceedings, 30: 4-10.

Douglas, N. 1974. Freshwater Fishes of Louisiana. Baton Rouge, LA: Claitors Publishing Division.

Heins, D., G. Clemmer. 1975. Ecology, Foods, and Feeding of the Longnose Shiner, Notropis longirostris (Hay), in Mississippi. American Midland Naturalist, 94/2: 284-295.

Jordan, F. 1989. The comparative feeding ecology of cyprinid fishes of the Choctawhatchee River, Florida. Florida State University Department of Biological Science.

Keplinger, B. 2007. An Experimental Study of Vertical Habitat Use and Habitat Shifts in Single-species and Mixed-species Shoals of Native and Nonnative Congeneric Cyprinids. West Virginia University Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Consumer Sciences..

Mayden, R. 1992. Systematics, historical ecology, and North American freshwater fishes. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Pyron, M. 1996. size dimorphism and phylogeny in North American minnows. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 57: 327-341.

Ross, S. 2001. Inland Fishes of Mississippi. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.

Stallsmith, B., K. Butler, A. Woodall, B. Muller. 2007. Observations on the Reproductive Biology of Two Notropis Species. Southeastern Naturalist, 6: 693-704.

Steiner, L., A. Michaels, T. Walke. 2000. Pennsylvania Fishes. Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

Williams, C., T. Bonner. 2006. Habitat Associations, Life History and Diet of the Sabine Shiner Notropis sabinae in an East Texas Drainage. American Midland Naturalist, 155/1: 84-102.