• Family: Cyprinidae (Minnows and Carps)
• Other Names: None
• Ohio Status: No special status
• Adult Size: Typically 1.5-2.5 inches, can reach 3 inches.
• Typical Foods: Various aquatic invertebrates.
Mimic shiners are a small silvery minnow and usually have 8 anal rays that are rather thin and frail. They have a faint stripe along the sides that is more visible when they are caught from clear water. They lack or have a very poorly defined stripe down the back. The fins are transparent with no dark markings. The scales along the lateral line just behind the head are about 3 times higher than their width. Mimic shiners are less robust and have a more defined stripe along their sides than channel shiners. Ghost shiners have extremely tall scales along the lateral line behind the head, longer fins, and little to no dark pigment anywhere on the body. Sand shiners usually have 7 instead of 8 anal rays and a distinct stripe down the center of the back.
Habitat and Habits
Mimic shiners are found in moderate to large streams and rivers in areas with little or no current. They are more often found in areas with some vegetation than the very similar sand shiner. When the two species are found in the same stream segment the mimic shiners are typically in areas with less current than the sand shiner. This species has drastically decreased in abundance throughout much of Ohio since the early 1900's and is now rarely an abundant species at any location. Mimic shiners are also present along beaches and around the islands in Lake Erie.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
Mimic shiners spawn in late spring and early summer scattering eggs over a sand or gravel substrate. No parental care is given.