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Topeka Shiner
Notropis topeka
Status: Endangered


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Description: The Topeka shiner is a small minnow that is less than three inches in total length. It is a 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 color in all other fins during the breeding season.

Habitat and Habits: The Topeka shiner is a fish that is found in prairie streams with stable stream channels and in off-channel oxbows with sandy or gravel bottoms. An important aspect for survival is clear, clean water with cool temperatures and clean gravel, rock, or sand bottoms. Streams that have Topeka shiners tend to be perennial with year-round flows, although some are small enough to stop flowing during dry summer months. In those instances, water levels need to be maintained by groundwater seepage for the fish to survive or the fish move downstream to areas of permanent water.

Praire Bush-Clover

Photograph provided by
Kansas DW&P

Distribution: Historically, this species occurred in 36 counties. Recent surveys have found the Topeka shiner in 13 counties of Iowa. Additional surveys may find the Topeka shiner in a few more counties, but it is probably extirpated from about 50 percent of its historic range in Iowa.

Conservation Measures: Protection of known Topeka shiner populations in the tributaries to the North Raccoon River, Rock and Little Rock rivers, and Boone River drainage is related to:
• Limiting new construction of dam structures and removal of existing dam structures when feasible. When dam removal is not feasible, the creation of fish passage ways over existing dams is desirable.
• Restoration of stream channels.
• Implementation of proper upland management such as contour farming and other soil erosion control methods.
• Reestablishment of grassy riparian corridors.
• Maintaining oxbows and in some cases removal of sediment from these areas.

Funding Provided by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and
Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
Mailing Address: IDALS,  Wallace State Office Building,   502 E. 9th Street,  Des Moines, IA 50319:    PH: 515-281-5321
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