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.

Notemigonus crysoleucas
Notemigonus crysoleucas
(Golden Shiner)
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
Notemigonus crysoleucas (Mitchill, 1814)

Common name: Golden Shiner

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Distinguishing features given by Becker (1983), Robison and Buchanan (1988), Jenkins and Burkhead (1994), Moyle (2002), and Page and Burr (1991).

Golden Shiner can be distinguished from all other native North American minnows (Cyprinidae) by the presence of a fleshy scaleless keel along the belly between the pelvic and anal fins, along with an extremely compressed body and a strongly decurved lateral line. Golden Shiner are superficially similar to the introduced Rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus), and can be distinguished by the following characters (Howells 1990; Page and Burr 2011)

  Rudd Golden Shiner
Dorsal fin rays 9-11 7-9
Anal fin rays 10-11 8-19
(usually 11-14)
Gill rakers on 1st arch 10-13 17-19
Pharyngeal teeth 3,5-5,3 0,5-5,0
Lateral line scales 36-45 44-54
Ventral keel Scaled Unscaled
Eyes Red or with red spot Yellow-green
Fin color Bright red Yellow-green
(except in spawning adults
and southern population)


Size: 30 cm.

Native Range: Atlantic and Gulf Slope drainages from Nova Scotia to southern Texas; Great Lakes, Hudson Bay (Red River), and Mississippi River basins west to Alberta, Montana, Wyoming, and western Oklahoma (Page and Burr 2011).

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 Notemigonus crysoleucas are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
AZ1932202015Bill Williams; Canyon Diablo; Havasu-Mohave Lakes; Imperial Reservoir; Lake Mead; Lower Colorado; Lower Colorado Region; Lower Lake Powell; Middle Little Colorado; Rio Sonoyta; San Simon Wash; Silver; Upper Gila-San Carlos Reservoir; Upper Verde; White
CA1891202122California Region; Imperial Reservoir; Lower Colorado; Lower Klamath; Lower Pit; Lower Sacramento; Middle San Joaquin-Lower Chowchilla; Monterey Bay; Newport Bay; Pajaro; Salton Sea; San Joaquin; San Joaquin Delta; Santa Clara; Smith; Suisun Bay; Tomales-Drake Bays; Upper Cache; Upper Klamath; Upper Pit; Upper Sacramento; Upper Yuba
CO1953202211Big Thompson; Cache La Poudre; Colorado Headwaters; Colorado Headwaters-Plateau; Fountain; Huerfano; Middle South Platte-Cherry Creek; South Platte; St. Vrain; Upper Arkansas; Upper Colorado
FL197519882Lower Ochlockonee; Vero Beach
ID200620101Lower North Fork Clearwater
IA198719871Upper Chariton
KS199919991Lower Cottonwood
KY198619861Upper Cumberland
ME200320112Lower Androscoggin River; New England Region
MT1933201123Battle; Beaver; Beaver; Beaverhead; Big Sandy; Boxelder; Charlie-Little Muddy; Fort Peck Reservoir; Lodge; Lower Tongue; Lower Yellowstone; Lower Yellowstone; Lower Yellowstone-Sunday; Middle Milk; Milk; Missouri Headwaters; Musselshell; Tongue; Upper Little Missouri; Upper Missouri; Upper Missouri-Dearborn; Upper Tongue; Upper Yellowstone
NE198719871Missouri Region
NV195020015Havasu-Mohave Lakes; Imperial Reservoir; Lake Mead; Lake Tahoe; Upper Amargosa
NH199219921Saco River
NM195719909Caballo; Cimarron Headwaters; Rio Grande-Albuquerque; Rio San Jose; Upper Beaver; Upper Canadian; Upper Canadian-Ute Reservoir; Upper Pecos-Black; Yellow House Draw
NY193019946Black; Bronx; Oswegatchie; Raquette; Sacandaga; Upper Hudson
NC199120143Upper Little Tennessee; Upper New; Watauga, North Carolina, Tennessee
OK200920091Lower Cimarron-Skeleton
OR198720117Lost; Lower Columbia; Middle Rogue; North Umpqua; Pacific Northwest Region; Silvies; Upper Klamath
SD196219623Cheyenne; Lower Cheyenne; Middle Cheyenne-Spring
TX189220155International Falcon Reservoir; Rio Grande; Rio Grande-Falcon; Upper Clear Fork Brazos; White
UT196919922Upper Virgin; Utah Lake
VA198619944Kanawha; Middle New; South Fork Holston; Upper New
WA199920073Little Spokane; Nooksack; Puget Sound
WV199319931Middle New
WY196419946Beaver; Crow; Lower Laramie; Salt; Upper Belle Fourche; Upper Bighorn

Table last updated 6/20/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

* HUCs are not listed for states where the observation(s) cannot be approximated to a HUC (e.g. state centroids or Canadian provinces).

Means of Introduction: The Golden Shiner is widely used as bait and as an ornamental and therefore has been transplanted into many areas, including parks in the United States (e.g., Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; LoVullo and Stauffer 1993). According to Swift et al. (1993), the Golden Shiner arrived in San Diego County, California, in 1891 and quickly became widespread. Dill and Cordone (1997) stated this species was planted in parts of California as forage by the California Fish Commission during the late 1890s. It is the most commonly used bait fish in many regions, for instance California (Dill and Cordone 1997) and the Midwest (Burr, personal communication). Jenkins and Burkhead (1994) and Pflieger (1997) also noted that many populations probably became established through bait bucket introductions. The Golden Shiner has been stocked in the Great Basin as a forage fish (Sigler and Sigler 1987). According to Jenkins and Burkhead (1994), it has been sparingly introduced to the New River drainage (earliest records: North Carolina 1949; Virginia 1971; West Virginia 1970). These researchers also noted that the earliest record of this species in the Virginia portion of the upper Tennessee drainage was 1966. That record was from a site near a hatchery that used this species as forage.

Status: Established in all states listed above.

Impact of Introduction: According to Moyle (2002), this species is widely introduced throughout California with unknown effects on native species. Eradication programs were reported as common in California (Sigler and Sigler 1996).

A study by Shao (1997) showed that Golden Shiners that used brood nests made by Lepomis gibbosus resulted in reduced hatching success of L. gibbosus due to fungal infection from the presence of Golden Shiners. The reduced hatching success was offset by reduced predation on L. gibbosus eggs due to the presence of Golden Shiner eggs.

Remarks: This species is similar in appearance to the rudd Scardinius erythrophthalmus, a European species that has been introduced into the United States. The two readily hybridize in laboratory conditions (Burkhead and Williams 1991). Dill and Cordone (1997) detailed the introduction history of this species in California. They speculated that some of the "minnows" used as food for fish being transported by the U.S. Fish Commission in the late 1800s may have been Golden Shiners. There is some debate concerning the native versus nonnative distribution of this species in the eastern United States. For example, Etnier and Starnes (1993) stated that this species was probably rare or absent from east and middle Tennessee before reservoir construction, but later became established in larger waters of these areas as a result of bait bucket introductions or expansion of "once-scattered populations." Jenkins and Burkhead (1994) noted that the species is probably more prevalent in Virginia than their distribution maps show because their data included few samples from farm ponds, habitats where the species has often been introduced. They also stated that most records from the Blue Ridge and Valley and Ridge in Virginia probably are of introductions. Sigler and Sigler (1996) stated that introduced Golden Shiners in Utah Lake, Utah, are barely maintaining population levels. In their analysis of fish zoogeography, Hocutt et al. (1986) listed this species as "introduced but possibly native" for an Appalachian drainage, the Kanawha River above the falls.

References: (click for full references)

Becker, G.C. 1983. Fishes of Wisconsin. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI. http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/EcoNatRes.FishesWI

Bradley, W. G. and J. E. Deacon. 1967. The biotic communities of southern Nevada. Nevada State Museum Anthropological Papers No. 13, Part 4. 201-273.

Dill, W.A., and A.J. Cordone. 1997. History and status of introduced fishes in California, 1871-1996. Fish Bulletin 178. California Department of Fish and Game, Sacramento, CA. http://content.cdlib.org/view?docId=kt8p30069f&brand=calisphere

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

Halliwell, D.B. 2003. Introduced Fish in Maine. MABP series: Focus on Freshwater Biodiversity. Available online at URL http://mainebiodiversity.org/introduced.fish.pdf

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. Pages 161-212 in Hocutt, C.H., 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.

Kelly, J. M. 2001. Bait-bucket biology. Post Standard, Syracuse, NY. June 28, 2001.

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.

Miller, R.R. 1952. Bait fishes of the lower Colorado River, from Lake Mead, Nevada, to Yuma, Arizona, with a key for identification. California Fish and Game. 38: 7-42.

Moyle, P.B. 2002. Inland fishes of California. University of California Press, London, England, 164-166.

Page, L.M., and B.M. Burr. 2011. Peterson field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. 2nd edition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston, MA.

Pflieger, W.L. 1997. The fishes of Missouri. Revised edition. Missouri Department of Conservation, Jefferson City, MO.

Robison, H.W., and T.M. Buchanan. 1988. Fishes of Arkansas. University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, AR.

Shao, B. 1997. Effects of golden shiner (Notemigonus crysoleucas) nest association on host pumpkinseeds (Lepomis gibbosus): evidence for a non-parasitic relationship. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 41(6): 399-406.

Sigler, W.F., and J.W. Sigler. 1996. Fishes of Utah: a natural history. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, UT.

Sommer, T., B. Harrell, M. Nobriga, R. Brown, P. Moyle, W. Kimmerer, and L. Schemel. 2001. California's Yolo Bypass: evidence that flood control can be compatible with fisheries, wetlands, wildlife, and agriculture. Fisheries 26(8):6-16.

Swift, C.C., T.R. Haglund, M. Ruiz, and R.N. Fisher. 1993. The status and distribution of the freshwater fishes of southern California. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences 92(3):101-167.

Tilmant, J.T. 1999. Management of nonindigenous aquatic fish in the U.S. National Park System. National Park Service. 50 pp.

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

Whittier, T. R., D. B. Halliwell and R. A. Daniels. 2000. Distributions of lake fishes in the Northeast - II. The Minnows (Cyprinidae). Northeastern Naturalist. 7(2): 3- 131-156.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Nico, L., and Neilson, M.E.

Revision Date: 9/29/2020

Peer Review Date: 9/16/2011

Citation Information:
Nico, L., and Neilson, M.E., 2024, Notemigonus crysoleucas (Mitchill, 1814): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx?SpeciesID=579, Revision Date: 9/29/2020, Peer Review Date: 9/16/2011, Access Date: 6/21/2024

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 [6/21/2024].

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