The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Notropis volucellus
Notropis volucellus
(Mimic Shiner)
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
Notropis volucellus (Cope, 1865)

Common name: Mimic Shiner

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Scott and Crossman (1973); Becker (1983); Page and Burr (1991); Etnier and Starnes (1993); Jenkins and Burkhead (1994); Pflieger (1997). Notropis volucellus probably represents a complex of several cryptic species (Etnier and Starnes 1993).

Size: 7.6 cm.

Native Range: St. Lawrence-Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, and Mississippi River basins from Quebec and Vermont to west-central Manitoba, and south to Gulf; Atlantic Slope drainages from James River, Virginia, to Neuse River, North Carolina; Gulf Slope drainages from Mobile Bay, Georgia and Alabama, to Nueces River, Texas (Page and Burr 1991).

Native range data for this species provided in part by NatureServe NS logo
Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Notropis volucellus are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
MA194120055Deerfield; Lower Connecticut; Middle Connecticut; Nashua; Westfield
NY198620104East Branch Delaware; Owego-Wappasening; Upper Delaware; Upper Susquehanna
PA1977201012Lower Juniata; Lower Susquehanna; Lower Susquehanna-Penns; Lower Susquehanna-Swatara; Lower West Branch Susquehanna; Middle West Branch Susquehanna; Owego-Wappasening; Pine; Raystown; Tioga; Upper Susquehanna-Lackawanna; Upper Susquehanna-Tunkhannock
VT199219942Black-Ottauquechee; Mettawee River

Table last updated 6/13/2021

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Unknown; possible bait bucket releases. Probably introduced accidentally into Massachusetts with other bait fish (Hartel 1992; Cardoza et al. 1993).

Status: Established in Connecticut (Schmidt and Jacobs 2005), Massachusetts (Hartel 1992; Hartel et al. 2002), West Virginia (Stauffer et al. 1995), and Susquehanna drainage, Pennsylvania (Cooper 1983).

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

Remarks: Whitworth (1996) made no mention of this species in his recent book on Connecticut fishes, and it was not sampled in many surveys of Connecticut fishes (summarized in Schmidt and Jacobs 2005). The distribution map of Lee et al. (1980 et seq.) shows a nonindigenous record centered on the Connecticut River in southern Massachusetts near the Connecticut state border. Schmidt (1986) listed it as introduced to the Housatonic and Connecticut river drainages, and Page and Burr (1991), and Etnier and Starnes (1993) reported it as introduced to the Connecticut and Housatonic rivers; their conclusions were apparently based, at least in part, on the map of Lee et al. (1980 et seq.). The species has been taken from several sites in the Massachusetts portion of the Connecticut River drainage, the first dating to the 1940s (Hartel 1992; K. Hartel, personal communication), but evidently is absent from the Housatonic drainage (not listed in Hartel et al. 2002; further discussion of erroneous reports in Schmidt and Jacobs 2005). Prior to Schmidt and Jacobs (2005), however, Notropis volucellus had not been documented from the Connecticut portion of the Connecticut River.

Hocutt et al. (1986) regarded it as introduced (but possibly native) to the Susquehanna River drainage and as native (but possibly introduced) to the James River drainage. Propst and Carlson (1986) stated that reports of N. volucellus in Colorado are based on misidentifications. Based on a search of various databases, Walters (1997) noted that this species was reported as taken from the Conasauga River system of Georgia. Among several possible explanations (e.g., a misidentification), he speculated that the record may be based on a bait bucket introduction of the Tennessee drainage form of the Mimic Shiner. Scott and Crossman (1973) concluded that its value as a bait minnow, at least in northern regions, is unknown since the species is seldom recognized either by bait dealers or investigating biologists. Becker (1983) believed its use as a bait minnow is probably low; however, he did report that Mimic Shiners from a Wisconsin lake were used in huge quantities as bait and also mentioned an instance of its use as a food supply for fishes at one hatchery. Jenkins and Burkhead (1994) stated that this small shiner is quite frail and therefore not likely to be successfully introduced.

References: (click for full references)

Becker, G.C. 1983. Fishes of Wisconsin. University of Madison Press, Madison, WI.

Cardoza, J.E., G.S. Jones, T.W. French, and D.B. Halliwell. 1993. Exotic and translocated vertebrates of Massachusetts. Fauna of Massachusetts Series 6. Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Westborough, MA.

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

Hartel, K. 1992. Non-native fishes known from Massachusetts freshwaters. Occasional Reports of the MCZ Fish Department 1992:1-9.

Hartel, K.E., D.B. Halliwell, and A.E. Launer. 2002. Inland fishes of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Audubon Society, Lincoln, MA.

Hocutt, C.H., R.E. Jenkins, and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. 1986. Zoogeography of the fishes of the central Appalachians and central Atlantic Coastal Plain. 161-212 in C.H. Hocutt and E.O. Wiley, eds. The zoogeography of North American freshwater fishes. John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY.

Jenkins, R.E., and N.M. Burkhead. 1994. Freshwater fishes of Virginia. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD.

Lee, D.S., C.R. Gilbert, C.H. Hocutt, R.E. Jenkins, D.E. McAllister, and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, NC.

Malick, R.W., Jr. 1978. The mimic shiner, Notropis volucellus (Cope), in the Susquehanna River drainage of Pennsylvania. Proceedings of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science 52:199-200.

Page, L.M., and B.M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. The Peterson Guide Series, vol. 42. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.

Pflieger, W. 1997. The fishes of Missouri. Missouri Department of Environmental Conservation, Jefferson City, MO.

Propst, D.L., and C.A. Carlson. 1986. The distribution and status of warmwater fishes in the Platte River drainage, Colorado. Southwestern Naturalist 31(2):149-167.

Scott, W.B., and E.J. Crossman. 1973. Freshwater fishes of Canada. Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Bulletin 184. Ottawa.

Schmidt, R.E. 1986. Zoogeography of the northern Appalachians. 137-160 in C.H. Hocutt and E.O. Wiley, eds. The zoogeography of North American freshwater fishes. John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY.

Schmidt, R.E., and R. Jacobs. 2005. The mimic shiner, Notropis volucellus (Cope), in Connecticut. Northeastern Naturalist 12:325-330.

Stauffer, J.R., Jr., J.M. Boltz, and L.R. White. 1995. The fishes of West Virginia. Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA.

Walters, D.M. 1997. The distribution, status, and ecology of the fishes of the Conasauga River system. Master's thesis, University of Georgia, Athens, GA.

Whitworth, W.R. 1996. Freshwater fishes of Connecticut. Second edition. State Geological and Natural History Survey of Connecticut. Second edition, Bulletin 114. Hartford, CT.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Leo Nico, and Matt Neilson

Revision Date: 7/2/2019

Peer Review Date: 9/27/2012

Citation Information:
Leo Nico, and Matt Neilson, 2021, Notropis volucellus (Cope, 1865): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=614, Revision Date: 7/2/2019, Peer Review Date: 9/27/2012, Access Date: 6/24/2021

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.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2021]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [6/24/2021].

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