blackchin shiner

Blackchin Shiner (Notropis heterodon)

The blackchin occurs in a narrow band from Lake Champlain to Wisconsin and from the south shore of Lake Superior to northern Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa. There are a few records in theMississippi and Susquehanna watersheds. In New York, it is recorded from Chautauqua Lake, the Allegheny, Finger Lakes, St. Lawrence, Lake Champlain drainages, and Otsego and Canadarago Lakes in the Susquehanna watershed. We have collected it only in the St. Lawrence drainage.

The blackchin shiner lives in slow, clear, weedy areas of large streams and the shallow parts of lakes. It appears to be intolerant of silt and is becoming uncommon over much of its range.

There have been no intensive studies of the life history of the blackchin shiner. Specimens from the northern part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan were in breeding color in late July.

The blackchin feeds on a greater variety of prey and takes about half its prey from open water and the other half from vegetation, the surface, and the bottom. It has been observed to feed on cladocerans and flying midges taken from the surface of the water.

Because of its intolerance to silt and its need for dense weed beds, the blackchin is a good indicator of water quality.

This fish is considered to be of special concern (one step below threatened) in New York State. For more information about the legal status of this fish, please see the North American Native Fishes Association at


Distribution of the blackchin shiner in NY state.

A 213 KB image of the is also available for download.

The above species description was taken out of "The Inland Fishes of New York State" by C. Lavett Smith, published by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 1985.

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