Cyprinella caerulea | Blue Shiner

 

A native of the Coosa and Cahaba river systems in Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama, the Blue Shiner is listed as Threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Assumed to be extirpated from its former range in the Cahaba River, one of the Blue Shiner's last strongholds is the Conasauga River in Georgia and Tennessee.

 

The Blue Shiner has been one of the easiest fishes to propagate in captivity. Offspring from our facility have been used extensively in toxicity testing in order to refine water quality standards. 

 

As with many species in the genus Cyprinella, the Blue Shiner has a reproductive strategy that makes it especially sensitive to environmental degradation. Females spray their eggs forcefully into crevices in boulders, cracks between rocks, or on the bark of submerged trees. Because they are dependent upon crevices for spawning, siltation is a major threat. As silt fills the available crevices, Blue Shiners are unable to find a place to lay their eggs. If eggs are placed on the surface of a boulder or log, they become extremely susceptible to predation.  Thus, clear, silt-free streams are essential to the survival of the blue shiner and other crevice-spawning fishes. Public and private efforts are helping to preserve the unique Conasauga River system, and the fish, mollusks, and invertebrates that live in its waters.