The golden shiner, Notemigonus crysoleucas, is a cyprinid fish (minnow) native to eastern North America. It is the most widely pond-cultured fish in the United States.

The golden shiner is quite a small fish, reaching lengths of 3 to 5 inches long. Its body is dark green or olive, and the belly is a silvery white. The sides are silver in smaller individuals, but golden in larger ones. They have a small and upturned mouth.

Two characteristics can distinguish the golden shiner from all other minnows: the lateral line has a pronounced downward curve, with its lowest point just above the pelvic fins; and there is a fleshy keel lacking scales on the belly between the pelvic fins and the base of the anal fin.

Golden shiners live in quiet waters like lakes & ponds, especially in weedy areas. They are fairly tolerant of pollution, turbidity, and low oxygen content, and can tolerate temperatures as high as 104 °F, very unusual for minnows.

Golden shiners are omnivorous, and eat a wide range of zooplankton, insects, small fish and algae. They feed in schools at the surface, in mid-water, or at the bottom. They locate their prey visually, or filter-feed on high-density zooplankton without resorting to visual cues. In turn, they are food for sunfish, trout and bass.


Golden Shiner, Notemigonus crysoleucas, Orange Grove Springs