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.

Cyprinella venusta
Cyprinella venusta
(Blacktail Shiner)
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
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).

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 Cyprinella venusta are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
GA198819881Upper Ocmulgee
NV196820012Lake Mead; Lower Virgin
TN199319931Kentucky Lake
TX198620172Hubbard; Rio Grande-Fort Quitman

Table last updated 6/13/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

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: 4/11/2006

Citation Information:
Leo Nico, and Pam Fuller, 2024, Cyprinella venusta Girard, 1856: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=521, Revision Date: 4/11/2006, Peer Review Date: 4/11/2006, Access Date: 6/13/2024

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. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [6/13/2024].

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