Notropis topeka (Gilbert, 1884)
member of the Minnow Family (Cyprinidae)
Mound Creek, Rock County, Minnesota June 2002
In a Name?
means "back keel" in Greek, referring to the keel shape of the back of
a dried out specimen used to describe this genus
Do They Live?
In Minnesota, Topeka shiners occur only in streams of the Missouri River drainage in the southwestern corner of the state. They inhabit the Rock River and many of its tributaries, as well as many of the streams that flow into Big Sioux drainage of South Dakota. These low-gradient, slow-moving streams are naturally winding, with bottoms made of sand, gravel, or rubble usually covered by a deep layer of silt. We have recently discovered that Topeka shiners prefer pool-like areas that are outside the main channel courses. These pools are in contact with groundwater and usually contain vegetation and areas of exposed gravel. Topeka shiners almost always are found with sand shiners, orange-spotted or green sunfish, fathead minnows, white suckers, and black bullheads.
Big Do They Get?
Do They Eat?
Topeka shiners are omnivorous (eat plant and animal matter) opportunists (they eat what's available). We have found over 25 different food groups in their stomachs in Minnesota. These groups include 9 orders of insects, 5 kinds of waterfleas, snails, fingernail clams, water mites, worms, freshwater sponge, moss animals, sideswimmers, algae, plant stems and seeds, and fish larvae. If it is not too big, they eat it!
Do They Reproduce?
"Cool Fact": Minnesota has more Topeka shiners than other state, maybe more than all other states combined.
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Permission is granted for the non-commercial educational or scientific use of the text and images on this Web document. Please credit the author or authors listed below.
Photographs by Konrad P. Schmidt
Text by Nicole Paulson & Jay T. Hatch in cooperation with
the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' MinnAqua Aquatic Program
This page developed with funds from the
MinnAqua Program (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Division of Fisheries)
Sport Fish Restoration Program (Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of the Interior)
Maintained by Jay T. Hatch
General College and James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis/St. Paul
Last updated 23 October 2002