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Topeka Shiner

Topeka Shiner photo by Joel Sartore.

Topeka Shiner (Notropis topeka)  Photo by Joel Sartore

The Topeka shiner (Notropis topeka) is a small minnow, less than three inches in total length. It is an overall silvery color, with a well defined dark stripe along its side, and a dark wedge-shaped spot at the base of the tail fin. Males develop additional reddish coloration in all other fins during the breeding season.

The Topeka shiner occurs primarily in small prairie (or former prairie) streams in pools containing clear, clean water. Most Topeka shiner streams are perennial (flow year-round), but some are small enough to stop flowing during dry summer months. In these circumstances, water levels must be maintained by groundwater seepage for the fish to survive. Topeka shiner streams generally have clean gravel, rock, or sand bottoms. It is currently listed as Federally-endangered.