Invasion History

First Non-native North American Tidal Record: 1964
First Non-native West Coast Tidal Record: 1964
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Tidal Record:

General Invasion History:

Golden Shiners (Notemigonus crysoleucas) are native to eastern North America from Nova Scotia to southern Manitoba, and Florida to Texas (Page and Burr 1991; USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program 2014). They are widely used, and commercially raised and sold as a baitfish, and have also been introduced to reservoirs as a forage fish. Golden Shiners are among the top 10 most widely introduced fishes across the western United States (Moyle 2002; Schade et al. 2005; USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program 2018). They are established in the Columbia River and San Francisco Bay estuaries (Cohen and Carlton 1995; USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program 2018). Golden Shiners have been introduced to US states outside their native range, from Montana to Washington, and New Mexico to California (USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program 2018).

North American Invasion History:

Invasion History on the West Coast:

Golden Shiners were stocked as forage fish throughout California starting in San Diego County in 1891, and further dispersed by fishermen discarding bait. In 1950, they were planted in Clear Lake, in the San Francisco Bay watershed, and by 1964, they were found in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Dill and Cordone 1997). They are now very abundant in freshwater-tidal parts of the Delta, and occasionally occur in brackish Suisun Bay (Cohen and Carlton 1995; Matern et al. 2002). In two 1992-1999 surveys, they were the 5th or 6th most abundant species in freshwater portions of the South Delta (Feyrer and Healy 2003; Grimaldo et al. 2012), and common in other surveys (3-5 % of abundance, 1980s vs. 2000s, Brown and Michniuk 2007).

The Golden Shiner appears to be a recent introduction to the Columbia River. Sixteen fish were caught in a survey of the Columbia Slough, in Portland (Van Dyke 2009), and one fish was caught near the mouth of the Columbia, in Youngs Bay, near Astoria, in 2011 (USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program 2018). This fish was not reported in previous lists for the Columbia River and the Portland area (Hughes and Gammon 1987; Farr and Ward 1992; Sytsma et al. 2004). There are some earlier records from scattered introductions in Oregon and Washington, but mostly in isolated lakes outside of the Columbia River basin.


Golden Shiners (Notemigonus crysoleucas) are small to mid-sized freshwater fish from the family Cyprinidae. Fish of the family Cyprinidae, the carp and minnow family, have a single dorsal fin, abdominal pelvic fins, and a lateral line. They lack true spines in their fins. Adult Golder Shiners have a strongly laterally compressed body, and a strongly decurved lateral line. There is a scale-less keel along the ventral midline from the pelvic fins to the anal fin. There are 7-9 dorsal rays and 8-19 (usually 11-14) anal rays. There are 44-54 lateral scales. Adults occasionally reach 260-300 mm, but a more typical size is 144 mm. The color of adult fish varies from silver to brassy gold, with clear to yellowish fins (Page and Burr 1991; Murdy et al. 1997; Moyle 2002; Froese and Pauly 2018). Juvenile Golden Shiners are much slenderer, with a brownish back, a dusky stripe on the sides, extending from the eye to the snout, and silvery belly. They can be confused with the many Eastern and Midwestern shiners of the genus Notropis (Page and Burr 1991). Wang (1968) shows this color pattern in a 24 mm juvenile from the San Francisco estuary. The lateral band disappears at ~120 mm length (Jones et al. 1997).


Taxonomic Tree

Kingdom:   Animalia
Phylum:   Chordata
Subphylum:   Vertebrata
Superclass:   Osteichthyes
Class:   Actinopterygii
Subclass:   Neopterygii
Infraclass:   Teleostei
Superorder:   Ostariophysi
Order:   Cypriniformes
Family:   Leuciscidae
Genus:   Notemigonus
Species:   crysoleucas


Notemigonus crysoleucas crysoleucas ((Mitchill, 1814) 2004-01-22, None)

Potentially Misidentified Species

Lavinia exilicauda
Lavinia exilicauda (Hitch) is a deep-bodied minnow native to central California drainages from the Russian River to Monterey Bay. It is brown above, with silvery sides, and can reach 360 mm length (Page and Burr 1991).

Scardinius erythropthalmus
Scardinius erythropthalmus (Rudd) is a deep-bodied minnow with a scaled ventral keel, a silvery body, and red fins. It is native to Eurasia, and has been introduced to the Great Lakes, Hudson River, and scattered waters across the Eastern and Midwestern US as a baitfish (Page and Burr 1991; USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program 2018).



Golden Shiners (Notemigonus crysoleucas) are small to mid-sized freshwater fish. Males and females are nearly identical, but males develop a more intense golden color on their body and fins. They take between seven months and three years to mature, but most reach maturity in the second year at 50-70 mm (Jones et al. 1978). The spawning season varies with latitude but is March-August in California and the mid-Atlantic US, at 20-27 C (Jones et al. 1978; Wang 1986; Moyle 2002). Fish spawn in schools, with females dropping their eggs on submerged vegetation or debris, and males fertilizing them. The eggs are 1.0-1.4 mm in diameter and adhesive. Females will sometimes lay their eggs in the excavated nest of a Largemouth Bass, which is then guarded by the male bass (Moyle 2002). This increases the chance of survival of the eggs and larvae. Females may carry up to 200,000 eggs (Jones et al. 1978). The eggs hatch in 3-4 days at 17 to 24 C. Larvae remain on the bottom until the yolk sac is absorbed, and then swim in schools close to shore (Moyle 2002).

Golden Shiners have a native range of about 20 degrees of latitude, which includes cold-temperate to subtropical climates, and a wide range of habitats including lakes, slow-flowing streams, large rivers, swamps, and estuaries. They prefer relatively warm, still, or slow-flowing waters, with dense vegetation (Jones et al. 1978; Wang et al. 1986; Moyle 2002). These fish tolerate low oxygen levels (Moyle 2002). Golden Shiners have been collected at 14 PSU in Chesapeake Bay (Hildebrand and Schroeder 1928). Foods include zooplankton (especially the cladoceran, Daphnia spp., small flying insects, benthic invertebrates, algae, and occasionally, small fishes (Hildebrand and Schroeder 1928; Moyle 2002). Golden Shiners are vulnerable to large predatory fishes. In a survey in the San Francisco estuary, one was found in the stomach contents of a Largemouth Bass (Nobriga and Feyrer 2007). They are widely raised and used as bass bait (Dill and Cordone 20007).


General HabitatFresh (nontidal) MarshNone
General HabitatGrass BedNone
General HabitatCoarse Woody DebrisNone
General HabitatSwampNone
General HabitatNontidal FreshwaterNone
General HabitatTidal Fresh MarshNone
General HabitatSalt-brackish marshNone
Salinity RangeOligohaline0.5-5 PSU
Salinity RangeMesohaline5-18 PSU
Tidal RangeSubtidalNone

Life History

Tolerances and Life History Parameters

Minimum Temperature (ºC)0Based on geographical range
Maximum Temperature (ºC)35Froese and Pauly 2014
Minimum Salinity (‰)0This is a freshwater fish
Maximum Salinity (‰)14Field, Hildebrand and Schroeder 1928
Minimum Reproductive Temperature20Jones et al. 1978
Maximum Reproductive Temperature27Jones et al. 1978
Minimum Length (mm)50at maturity (Jones et al. 1978)
Maximum Length (mm)305Jones et al. 1978
Broad Temperature RangeNoneCold temperate-Subtropical
Broad Salinity RangeNoneLimnetic-Mesohaline

General Impacts

The Golden Shiners (Notemigonus crysoleucas) have been widely reared and sold in the United States as a bait fish, and sometimes deliberately stocked as a forage fish in order to support populations of game fishes, particularly Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides). They have a positive economic importance to the bait industry but could have negative effects in lakes and reservoirs, if unchecked by predators. Golden Shiners can deplete the zooplankton populations in a lake, which could limit recruitment of gamefishes, although more often they do not reach the level of abundance needed to support an increased gamefish population (Dill and Cordone 1997). In one case, introduction of Golden Shiners to a fishless lake led to a trophic cascade, in which depletion of the zooplankton led to algal blooms and reduced water clarity (Richardson et al. 2016). However, specific impacts of Golden Shiners have not been reported from the San Francisco or Columbia estuaries. Dill and Cordone (1997) considered the value of its introduction to California to be debatable (Dill and Cordone 1997).

Regional Distribution Map

Bioregion Region Name Year Invasion Status Population Status
P090 San Francisco Bay 1964 Def Estab
P260 Columbia River 2002 Def Estab
GL-I Lakes Huron, Superior and Michigan 0 Native Estab
GL-II Lake Erie 0 Native Estab
GL-III Lake Ontario 0 Native Estab
NA-S3 None 0 Native Estab
N010 Passamaquoddy Bay 0 Native Estab
N020 Englishman/Machias Bay 0 Native Estab
N036 _CDA_N036 (Maine Coastal) 0 Native Estab
N030 Narraguagus Bay 0 Native Estab
N050 Penobscot Bay 0 Native Estab
N040 Blue Hill Bay 0 Native Estab
N060 Muscongus Bay 0 Native Estab
N070 Damariscotta River 0 Native Estab
N080 Sheepscot Bay 0 Native Estab
N090 Kennebec/Androscoggin River 0 Native Estab
N100 Casco Bay 0 Native Estab
N110 Saco Bay 0 Native Estab
N116 _CDA_N116 (Piscataqua-Salmon Falls) 0 Native Estab
N125 _CDA_N125 (Piscataqua-Salmon Falls) 0 Native Estab
N130 Great Bay 0 Native Estab
N150 Merrimack River 0 Native Estab
N160 Plum Island Sound 0 Native Estab
N170 Massachusetts Bay 0 Native Estab
M010 Buzzards Bay 0 Native Estab
M020 Narragansett Bay 0 Native Estab
M026 _CDA_M026 (Pawcatuck-Wood) 0 Native Estab
M040 Long Island Sound 0 Native Estab
M060 Hudson River/Raritan Bay 0 Native Estab
M080 New Jersey Inland Bays 0 Native Estab
M090 Delaware Bay 0 Native Estab
M130 Chesapeake Bay 0 Native Estab
S010 Albemarle Sound 0 Native Estab
S020 Pamlico Sound 0 Native Estab
S030 Bogue Sound 0 Native Estab
S040 New River 0 Native Estab
S050 Cape Fear River 0 Native Estab
S056 _CDA_S056 (Northeast Cape Fear) 0 Native Estab
S060 Winyah Bay 0 Native Estab
S070 North/South Santee Rivers 0 Native Estab
S080 Charleston Harbor 0 Native Estab
S090 Stono/North Edisto Rivers 0 Native Estab
S100 St. Helena Sound 0 Native Estab
S110 Broad River 0 Native Estab
S120 Savannah River 0 Native Estab
S130 Ossabaw Sound 0 Native Estab
S140 St. Catherines/Sapelo Sounds 0 Native Estab
S150 Altamaha River 0 Native Estab
S160 St. Andrew/St. Simons Sounds 0 Native Estab
S170 St. Marys River/Cumberland Sound 0 Native Estab
S175 _CDA_S175 (Nassau) 0 Native Estab
S180 St. Johns River 0 Native Estab
S183 _CDA_S183 (Daytona-St. Augustine) 0 Native Estab
S190 Indian River 0 Native Estab
S196 _CDA_S196 (Cape Canaveral) 0 Native Estab
S200 Biscayne Bay 0 Native Estab
G010 Florida Bay 0 Native Estab
G020 South Ten Thousand Islands 0 Native Estab
G030 North Ten Thousand Islands 0 Native Estab
G030 North Ten Thousand Islands 0 Native Estab
G040 Rookery Bay 0 Native Estab
G045 _CDA_G045 (Big Cypress Swamp) 0 Native Estab
G050 Charlotte Harbor 0 Native Estab
G060 Sarasota Bay 0 Native Estab
G070 Tampa Bay 0 Native Estab
G074 _CDA_G074 (Crystal-Pithlachascotee) 0 Native Estab
G078 _CDA_G078 (Waccasassa) 0 Native Estab
G080 Suwannee River 0 Native Estab
G090 Apalachee Bay 0 Native Estab
G086 _CDA_G086 (Econfina-Steinhatchee) 0 Native Estab
G100 Apalachicola Bay 0 Native Estab
G110 St. Andrew Bay 0 Native Estab
G130 Pensacola Bay 0 Native Estab
G120 Choctawhatchee Bay 0 Native Estab
G150 Mobile Bay 0 Native Estab
G140 Perdido Bay 0 Native Estab
G160 East Mississippi Sound 0 Native Estab
G170 West Mississippi Sound 0 Native Estab
G180 Breton/Chandeleur Sound 0 Native Estab
G190 Mississippi River 0 Native Estab
G200 Barataria Bay 0 Native Estab
G230 Mermentau River 0 Native Estab
G210 Terrebonne/Timbalier Bays 0 Native Estab
G220 Atchafalaya/Vermilion Bays 0 Native Estab
G240 Calcasieu Lake 0 Native Estab
G250 Sabine Lake 0 Native Estab
G260 Galveston Bay 0 Native Estab
G270 Brazos River 0 Native Estab
G280 Matagorda Bay 0 Native Estab
G290 San Antonio Bay 0 Native Estab
LWINNI Lake Winnipeg 0 Native Estab
LMANIT Lake Manitoba 0 Native Estab

Occurrence Map

OCC_ID Author Year Date Locality Status Latitude Longitude


Bespalaya, Yulia (2022) A taxonomic reassessment of native and invasive species of Corbicula clams (Bivalvia: Cyrenidae) from the Russian Far East and Korea, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 20: 1-23

Brown, Larry R.; Michniuk, Dennis (2007) Littoral fish assemblages of the alien-dominated Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California, 1980-1983 and 2001-2003., Estuaries and Coasts 90: 186-200

Cohen, Andrew N.; Carlton, James T. (1995) Nonindigenous aquatic species in a United States estuary: a case study of the biological invasions of the San Francisco Bay and Delta, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Sea Grant College Program (Connecticut Sea Grant), Washington DC, Silver Spring MD.. Pp. <missing location>

Daniels, Robert A.; Limburg, Karin E.; Schmidt, Robert E; Strayer, David L.; Chambers, R. Christopher (2005) Changes in fish assemblages in the tidal Hudson river, New York., American Fisheries Society Symposium 45: 471-503

Dill, William A.; Cordone, Almo J. (1997) History and status of introduced fishes in California, 1871-1996, California Department of Fish and Game Fish Bulletin 178: 1-414

Farr, Ruth A., Ward, David L. (1992) Fishes of the lower Willamette River, near Portland, Oregon, Northwest Science 67(1): 16-22

Feyrer, Frederick; Healey, Michael P. (2003) Fish community structure and environmental correlates in the highly altered southern Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta., Environmental Biology of Fishes 66: 123-132

Froese, R.; Pauly, D. (Editors). 2002-2024 FishBase.(World Wide Web electronic publication).. <missing URL>

Grimaldo, Lenny; Miller, Robert E.; Hymanson, ZacharyPeregrin, Chris M., (2012) Fish assemblages in reference and restored tidal freshwater marshes of the San Francisco estuary, San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science 10(1):

Hildebrand, Samuel F.; Schroeder, William C. (1928) Fishes of Chesapeake Bay, Unites States Bureau of Bisheries Bulletin 53(Pt. 1): 1-388

Hughes, Robert M., Gammon, James R. (1987) Longitudinal changes in fish assemblages and water quality in the Willamette River, Oregon, Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 116: 196-209

Jones, Philip W.; Martin, F. Douglas; Hardy, Jerry D., Jr. (1978) Development of fishes of the mid-Atlantic Bight. V. 1. Acipenseridae through Ictaluridae., In: (Eds.) . , Washington DC. Pp. <missing location>

Keith, P. (2003) Biology and ecology of amphidromous Gobiidae of the Indo-Pacific and the Caribbean regions, Journal of Fish Biology 65: 831-847

Leidy, R. A. (2007) <missing title>, San Francisco Estuary Institute, Oakland. Pp. <missing location>

Matern, Scott A.; Moyle, Peter; Pierce, Leslie C. (2002) Native and alien fishes in a California estuarine marsh: twenty-one years of changing assemblages, Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 131: 797-816

Murdy, Edward O.; Birdsong, Ray S.; Musick, John A. (1997) Fishes of Chesapeake Bay, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.. Pp. 57-289

Nobriga, Matthew L.; Frederick Feyrer (2007) Shallow-water piscivore-prey dynamics in California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta., San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science 5(2 (Art. 4)): 1-13

Page, Lawrence M.; Burr, Brooks M. (1991) Freshwater Fishes: North America North of Mexico, Houghton-Mifflin, Boston. Pp. <missing location>

Simon, Carol A.; van Niekerk, H. Helene; Burghardt, Ingo; ten Hove, Harry A.; Kupriyanova, Elena K. (2019) Not out of Africa: Spirobranchus kraussii (Baird, 1865) is not a global fouling and invasive serpulid of Indo-Pacific origin, Biological Invasions 14(3): 221–249.

Sytsma, Mark D.; Cordell, Jeffrey R.; Chapman, John W.; Draheim, Robyn, C. (2004) <missing title>, Center for Lakes and Reservoirs, Portland State University, Portland OR. Pp. <missing location>

Tinlin-Mackenzie, Ashleigh; Ellis, Charlie D.; Lodola, Alice; Martin-Ruiz, Carmen; Stevens, Jamie R.; Fitzsimmons, Clare (2022) New kid on the block: first record of juvenile American lobster, Homarus americanus H. Milne Edwards, 1837, in European waters, Biological Invasions 11: Pubkished online

USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Program 2003-2024 Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database.

Wang, Johnson C. S. (1986) Fishes of the Sacramento - San Joaquin Estuary and Adjacent Waters, California: A Guide to the Early Life Histories, IEP Technical Reports 9: 1-673

Wright, Rosalind; et al. (2022) First direct evidence of adult European eels migrating to their breeding place in the Sargasso Sea, Scientific Reports 3,2(25362): Published online