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Longnose shiner

Notropis longirostris

What do they look like?

Longnose shiners are small, long fish that are not longer than 58 to 65 mm. Grownup males are 34.9 mm long on average and females are 33.8 mm long on average. Their head is round and their nose is long and blunt. Their eyes are small and located high on their head. They have a lateral line running all the way form head to tail, and 34 to 37 scales along their lateral line. They are a sandy to straw color, and are usually pale yellow above the lateral line. They also have a thin stripe across the middle. They are usually white or silvery on their belly. Especially males have bright yellow fins in the breeding season. (Ross, 2001)

  • Average length
    male 34.9 mm; female 33.8 mm

Where do they live?

Longnose shiners live throughout the southeastern coastal states of the United States. They are found from just west of the Mississippi River in Louisiana to Florida. They live in Louisiana's Florida Parishes, north into the lower Ouachita River area in Louisiana and the lower part of the Yazoo River area in Mississippi, to the upper Altamaha River area in Georgia. They are also found in the Ocmulgee River system in Georgia and some groups live in in the upper Coosa River system and smaller rivers draining into the Alabama River. (Bart, et al., 1995; Douglas, 1974; Ross, 2001)

What kind of habitat do they need?

Longnose shiners live in free-flowing water with sandy bottoms like rivers. They can live in places that have currents, too. They often live in rivers with white, sandy stream bottoms and low to medium speed of water flow. They are often found along open sandbars. They are commonly found in areas where the edges of streams have plants with woody stems or brush. (Douglas, 1974; Heins and Clemmer, 1975; Jordan, 1989)

  • Aquatic Biomes
  • rivers and streams

How do they grow?

In longnose shiners, the size of the eggs changes with the size of the female. The same number of male and females are born. (Ross, 2001)

How do they reproduce?

Scientists don't know much about the mating systems of longnose shiners.

Longnose shiners breed from March until October, and have more than one set of eggs in the same season. They often breed once at the beginning of the season and again around July. Females normally have 62 to 121 mature eggs per set, but can have anywhere from 15 to 129 eggs. Some longnose shiners can reproduce by the end of the first year. Females scatter eggs in the water and males fertilize them. (Mayden, 1992; Ross, 2001; Williams and Bonner, 2006)

  • How often does reproduction occur?
    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 don't invest time or energy into their offspring after they scatter and fertilize the eggs. (Mayden, 1992)

  • Parental Investment
  • no parental involvement

How long do they live?

Longnose shiners live about 1 to 2.5 years in the wild. Most don't survive their third winter. (Ross, 2001)

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

How do they behave?

Longnose shiners recently adapted to life in flowing water. They latch onto surfaces like rocks with their mouth to prevent from being swept away. Longnose shiners generally feed during the day. (Adams, et al., 2003; Keplinger, 2007)

Home Range

Scientists don't know much about the home range of longnose shiners.

How do they communicate with each other?

Like all fish, longnose shiners have a sensory organ running from their head to tail called a lateral line. It helps them sense water currents and vibrations. They use their eyes and lateral line to get information about their environment.

What do they eat?

Longnose shiners generally eating during the day. They mostly eat fly larvae and other insects living in the watre. The only insect they eat that lives on land are ants. Longnose shiners eat crustaceans like copepods and water fleas, and occasionally ostracods. They eat seeds of various flowering plants called sedges (Cyperaceae), and tiny algae plants called diatoms, desmids, and filamentous algae, as well as Fungi that live in the water. (Heins and Clemmer, 1975; Keplinger, 2007)

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

What eats them and how do they avoid being eaten?

Longnose shiners are eaten by larger fish-eating fish. (Steiner, et al., 2000)

What roles do they have in the ecosystem?

Longnose shiners eat several kinds of insects and plants and are prey for larger fish.

Do they cause problems?

There are no known negative impacts of longnose shiners on humans.

How do they interact with us?

Shiners are often used as bait by fishermen because they are shiny. (Steiner, et al., 2000)

Are they endangered?

Longnose shiners are not endangered. (Ross, 2001; 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.


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.

University of Michigan Museum of ZoologyNational Science Foundation

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Richardson, M. 2012. "Notropis longirostris" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 12, 2024 at

BioKIDS is sponsored in part by the Interagency Education Research Initiative. It is a partnership of the University of Michigan School of Education, University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, and the Detroit Public Schools. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant DRL-0628151.
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