Species At Risk

Silver Shiner

(Notropis photogenis)


Silver Shiner
Silver Shiner occurrences map


Silver Shiner is a relatively large, slender minnow that can grow to about 14 centimetres long. It has a silvery body with some blue or green iridescence, a dark stripe down the centre of the back, and a long snout marked with two black crescents between the nostrils. All of the fins are transparent or white with no spots or other distinctive markings.

Action we are taking:


The Silver Shiner range includes east-central North America throughout the Ohio and Tennessee River drainage basins. In Ontario, it is found in the Thames and Grand Rivers, and in Bronte Creek and Sixteen Mile Creek, which flow into Lake Ontario.


Silver Shiners prefer moderate to large size streams with swift currents that are free of weeds and have clean gravel or boulder bottoms. They live in schools and feed on crustaceans and adult flies that fall in the water or fly just above the surface. In June or July, they spawn by scattering their eggs over gravel riffles.


Dam construction and channelling of streams, as well as water pollution, may have caused historic declines of Silver Shiner in Ontario. Agricultural and urban land use, sportfish stocking, bait fish harvesting, and habitat loss and degradation are also threats. Temperature may be the most important limiting factor, as southern Ontario represents the northern limit for the species.


The Silver Shiner and its habitat are protected under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act.

What You Can Do to Help the Silver Shiner

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources tracks species at risk such as the Silver Shiner. You can use a handy online form to report your sightings to the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Photographs with specific locations or mapping coordinates are always helpful. nhic.mnr.gov.on.ca
  • Report any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).
  • Volunteer with your local nature club or provincial park to participate in surveys or stewardship work focused on species at risk.
  • Invasive species seriously threaten many of Ontario’s species at risk. To learn what you can do to help reduce the threat of invasive species, visit: ontario.ca/invasivespecies ; www.invadingspecies.com;www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca ; and, www.invasivespecies.gc.ca.
  • Private land owners have a very important role to play in species at risk recovery. If you find Silver Shiner in a watercourse on or adjacent to your property, you may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats.

Did you know?

The Silver Shiner is common and abundant in the centre of its North American range but less common and more likely to be considered at-risk at the edge of this range, particularly in Ontario, New York, Michigan, Alabama and Georgia.

Did you know?

Silver Shiners are sexually mature at age two, and most reach a maximum age of three years.

Did you know?

Silver Shiners are easily confused with Emerald Shiners and Rosyface Shiners, which may have contributed to the fact that they were only confirmed in Canada in 1973, but may have always been present.

The Endangered Species Act

Contact your local ministry office

Often the best source of local information on species at risk is your nearest ministry office. Call with your questions or concerns.