Richardsonius balteatus
Richardsonius balteatus
(Redside Shiner)
Native Transplant
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Richardsonius balteatus (Richardson, 1836)

Common name: Redside Shiner

Synonyms and Other Names: Bonneville redside shiner, subspecies R. b. hydrophlox

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Wydoski and Whitney (1979); Sigler and Sigler (1987); Page and Burr (1991).

Size: 18 cm.

Native Range: Pacific Slope drainage from Nass River, British Columbia, to Rogue, Klamath, and Columbia River drainages, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, and Wyoming; Bonneville basin, southern Idaho, western Wyoming, and Utah; Peace River system (Arctic basin), Alberta and British Columbia (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: The Redside Shiner has been recorded from Arizona in the Virgin River drainage, Colorado River basin (Minckley 1973; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Haynes et al. 1982; Page and Burr 1991). In Colorado it is known from several drainages in the Colorado River basin, including the Yampa, White, and Green rivers, and the upper Colorado main stem (Vanicek et al. 1970; Holden and Stalnaker 1975b; Haynes et al. 1982; Tyus et al. 1982; Woodling 1985). In Montana the species was introduced into the upper Missouri River drainage (Brown 1971; Lee et al. 1980 et seq.; Cross et al. 1986; Page and Burr 1991). In Utah it has been recorded from several sites in the Colorado River basin including the Virgin River (Haynes et al. 1982), the Green River drainage, and Dinosaur National Monument (Simon 1946; Sigler and Miller 1963; Vanicek et al. 1970; Haynes et al. 1982; Tyus et al. 1982; Tilmant 1999). In Wyoming it is known from the upper Green River, Colorado River basin (Simon 1946; Sigler and Miller 1963; Haynes et al. 1982; Tyus et al. 1982).

Means of Introduction: Presumably through bait bucket release (Minckley 1973) and probably by way of subsequent natural dispersal.

Status: This species has been present in the Colorado River basin since the 1930s (Simon 1946; Sigler and Miller 1963), and has continued to expand its range (Haynes et al. 1982; Tyus et al. 1982). It is established in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming.

Impact of Introduction: Largely unknown. It has been suggested that nonindigenous fishes, including R. balteatus, have contributed to the decline of native Colorado River species such as the Colorado pikeminnow Ptychocheilus lucius and the humpback chub Gila cypha (Haynes et al. 1982). These shiners are known to feed on the eggs of other species and possibly compete with the young of other fish for food and space (Woodling 1985). Sigler and Miller (1963) noted that it preys on the young of sport fishes. The introduced Redside Shiner appears to be replacing native Virgin River spinedace Lepidomeda m. mollispinis in the Virgin River (Minckley 1973). In areas where it is introduced, Redside Shiners can hybridize with speckled dace Rhinichthys osculus (Sigler and Miller 1963). This hybrid has been recorded from Utah in the Price River, Utah County in 1953; and Sheep Creek, Uintah County in 1960 (Sigler and Miller 1963). It has also been reported from Washington and the Provo River in Utah, where both species are native (Sigler and Miller 1963). Note: the subspecies R. b. hydrophlox is not native to Washington but the typical subspecies is. In British Columbia, introduced Redside Shiners adversely affected populations of a subspecies of introduced rainbow trout, the Kamloops trout Oncorhynchus mykiss kamloops; in addition to having a negative influence on trout growth and diet, the shiner was found to prey on trout fry (Larkin and Smith 1954). Competition with and predation by nonnative species (i.e., Catostomus sp., creek chub Semotilus atromaculatus, Redside Shiner Richardsonius balteatus, burbot Lota lota, brown trout Salmo trutta, and lake trout Salvelinus namaycush) limit populations of the rare bluehead sucker Catostomus discobolus (Wyoming Game and Fish Department 2010).

Remarks: Introductions into Arizona, Utah, and Wyoming were recorded as the subspecies R. b. hydrophlox (Sigler and Miller 1963; Baxter and Simon 1970; Minckley 1973). This species is a popular bait fish (Sigler and Miller 1963; Baxter and Simon 1970; Minckley 1973). Tyus et al. (1982) gave a distribution map of the this species in the upper Colorado basin.

References: (click for full references)

Haynes, C.M., R.T. Muth, and L.C. Wycoff. 1982. Range extension for the redside shiner, Richarsonius balteatus (Richardson), in the upper Colorado River drainage. Southwestern Naturalist 27(2):223.

Larkin, P.A., and S.B. Smith. 1954. Some effects of introduction of the redside shiner on the Kamloops trout in Paul Lake, British Columbia. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 83(1):161-175.

Minckley, W.L. 1973. Fishes of Arizona. Arizona Fish and Game Department Sims Printing Company, Inc, Phoenix, AZ.

Sigler, W.F., and R.R. Miller. 1963. Fishes of Utah. Utah Department of Fish and Game, Salt Lake City, UT.

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

Woodling, J. 1985. Colorado's Little Fish: a guide to the minnows and other lesser known fishes in the state of Colorado. Colorado Division of Wildlife, Denver, CO.

Other Resources:
FishBase Fact Sheet

Author: Leo Nico, and Pam Fuller

Revision Date: 8/6/2004

Citation Information:
Leo Nico, and Pam Fuller, 2017, Richardsonius balteatus (Richardson, 1836): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL,, Revision Date: 8/6/2004, Access Date: 11/21/2017

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. [2017]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [11/21/2017].

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