Cyprinella venusta
Cyprinella venusta
(Blacktail Shiner)
Native Transplant
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Cyprinella venusta Girard, 1856

Common name: Blacktail Shiner

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Smith (1979); Page and Burr (1991); Etnier and Starnes (1993); Pflieger (1997); another name commonly used is Notropis venustus. During recent years Cyprinella venusta has been recognized as a species complex, possibly representing as many as five different species (Gilbert, personal communication; also see Kristmundsdottir and Gold 1996). Recently, Gilbert (1998) formally elevated a few of the forms to species.

Size: 19 cm.

Native Range: Gulf drainages from Suwannee River, Georgia and Florida, to Rio Grande, Texas; Mississippi River basin (mostly on Former Mississippi Embayment) from southern Illinois to Louisiana and west in Red River drainage to western Oklahoma (Page and Burr 1991).

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Native range data for this species provided in part by NatureServe NS logo
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: This species has been found in the upper Ocmulgee River (Atlantic Slope) in Georgia, possibly the result of an introduction (Bart et al. 1994). An introduced population occurs in Stockton Lake in the Sac River system in Missouri (Pflieger 1997). Four specimens were taken in Nevada from the lower Virgin River, Colorado River basin, near Bunkerville, Clark County, in 1964 (Branson 1968; Minckley 1973; Deacon and Williams 1984; Vinyard 2001). It has recently invaded Kentucky Lake on the lower Tennessee River, Tennessee (Etnier and Starnes 1993).

Means of Introduction: This species gained access to Kentucky Lake, Tennessee, via a canal connection, presumably the Tennessee-Tombigbee waterway (Etnier and Starnes 1993). Although not reported from Stockton Lake, Missouri, until 1986, Pflieger (1997) suspected that it was inadvertently introduced into the lake as a stock contaminant along with an intentional introduction of the inland silverside Menidia beryllina from Lake Texoma, Oklahoma, in 1970. Branson (1968) concluded that Blacktail Shiners found in the Utah portion of the Virgin River probably migrated upstream from Lake Mead, but he did not speculate on the possible means of introduction into that lake. It is not certain when and how this species gained access to the Ocmulgee River drainage of Georgia. Bart et al. (1994) concluded that the species came from the nearby Flint River, but they were unable to determine if the species' presence in the Ocmulgee was the result of some natural event or of a bait bucket release.

Status: Established in Tennessee (Etnier and Starnes 1993) and Missouri (Pflieger 1997); introduced, possibly established, in Georgia (Bart et al. 1994); unsuccessful in Nevada (Branson 1968; Deacon and Williams 1984; Vinyard 2001).

Impact of Introduction: In the Ocmulgee of Georgia, there is the potential for the Blacktail Shiner to negatively affect closely related species native to the system through hybridization or competitive displacement (Bart et al. 1994). According to Bart et al. (1994), three native congeners are present in the Ocmulgee, the Ocmulgee shiner Cyprinella callisema, the bannerfin shiner C. leedsi, and the Altamaha shiner C. xaenura; the latter is listed as a state endangered species.

Remarks: The Ocmulgee River collections in Georgia represent the first record of this species from the Atlantic Slope (Bart et al. 1994). The introduced population in Kentucky Reservoir, Tennessee, represent the subspecies C. v. stigmatura (Etnier and Starnes 1993); specimens taken in Nevada were the subspecies C. v. venusta (Branson 1968). If the source of the Ocmulgee fish was the Flint River, those fish may be currently treated as representing the subspecies C. v. eurystoma (Gilbert, personal communication). Recently, Gilbert (1998) elevated two of the above named forms to species level (i.e., Cyprinella stigmaturus and C. eurystomus).

Voucher specimens: Georgia (Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Fort Valley; UGAMNH); Nevada (Nevada Southern University, Las Vegas 1756).

References: (click for full references)

Bart, Jr., H.L., M.S. Taylor, J.T. Harbaugh, J.W. Evans, S.L. Schleiger, and W. Clark. 1994. New distribution records of Gulf Slope drainage fishes in the Ocmulgee River system, Georgia. Proceedings Southeastern Fishes Council 30(12):4-10.

Etnier, D.A. and W.C. Starnes. 1993. The Fishes of Tennessee. The University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, TN.

Vinyard, G.L. 2001. Fish Species Recorded from Nevada. Biological Resources Research Center. University of Nevada, Reno. 5 pp.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Leo Nico, and Pam Fuller

Revision Date: 4/11/2006

Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016

Citation Information:
Leo Nico, and Pam Fuller, 2018, Cyprinella venusta Girard, 1856: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL,, Revision Date: 4/11/2006, Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016, Access Date: 1/19/2018

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.

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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2018]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [1/19/2018].

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