Cyprinella lutrensis blairi

Maravillas red shiner



Type Locality

Garden Springs and Pena Colorado Creek (Maravillas Creek drainage, tributary to the Rio Grande) in the Big Bend region of Texas (Hubbs 1940).


Etymology/Derivation of Scientific Name

Notropis – ridged or keeled back; a misnomer, probably due to the shrunken specimen used by Rafinesque when establishing this genus for N. atherinoides; lutra – otter, referring to Otter Creek (Arkansas), type locality of the red shiner (Cyprinella lutrensis; Scharpf 2005); blairi – named for W. Frank Blair, in recognition of his effort in collection of many fish specimens, including the first examples of N. l. blairi (Hubbs 1940).



Notropis lutrensis blairi Hubbs 1940:6-8; Hubbs 1954.

Notropis lutrensis lutrensis Contreras-Balderas 1975.

Cyprinella lutrensis blairi Matthews (1987); Scharpf 2005:13.



Maximum size: Hubbs (1940) reported collection of nuptial male 44 mm (1.73 in) SL (holotype).


Coloration: Well-developed black mark between mandibles extends to opposite the root of the mandibles; shoulder bar very prominent; dorsal and lateral scales with dark margins that form a cross-hatched pattern on the body; general color tone is dark. Breeding males mostly olive-green, with bright gilt reflections; strongly spangled with blue on anterior two-thirds of the body, exhibiting pinkish gold on the light part of the abdomen; top of head dusky purplish, with iridescent green; silvery opercles with brassy and bluish reflections, and cheeks of bright blue; rather conspicuous indigo and rose bars behind head; bright orange-red caudal and lower fins, with paler outer borders; pectoral and anal fin membranes blood-red; dorsal fin slaty (Hubbs 1940).


Counts: 8 (9) anal fin soft rays (Hubbs 1940).


Mouth position: Strongly oblique, and lower jaw only slightly included or not at all (Hubbs 1940).


Body shape: Adults relatively thick and slender (little sexual dimorphism in form apparent); snout broadly rounded in top and side views; small eye (Hubbs 1940).


Morphology: Lateral line complete, scales not markedly reduced in size. Nuptial tubercles are relatively small in size and are scattered over the top of the head, though none are developed around tip of the snout; tubercles relatively weak on body except in the area of the anal fin base, where they form an almost solid shagreen (Hubbs 1940).


Distribution (Native and Introduced)

U.S. distribution: Found only in Texas.


Texas distribution: Garden Springs and Pena Colorado Creek (Maravillas Creek drainage, tributary to the Rio Grande) in the Big Bend region of Texas (Hubbs 1940; Miller et al. 1989; Scharpf 2005).


Abundance/Conservation status (Federal, State, Non-governmental organizations)

Extinct due to competition from the introduced plains killifish (Fundulus zebrinus); last known collection made by Clark Hubbs in 1954 from upper Maravillas Creek at its confluence with Pena Colorado Creek (Matthews 1987; Miller et al. 1989; Scharpf 2005). Miller et al. (1989) listed date of extinction as 1960. Hubbs (1940) reported collection from two sites at Garden Springs and one site at Pena Colorado Creek: 16 individuals (half-grown to mature males and females) were taken at the first Garden Springs site on April 16, 1937; 25 individuals (mature males and females) were collected at the second Garden Springs site on July 19, 1938; and 10 individuals (mature males and females) were taken at the Pena Colorado Creek site on June 26, 1938.


Habitat Associations

Macrohabitat: Garden Springs, adjacent to the generally dry bed of Pena Colorado Creek; and Pena Colorado Creek, which is a cool, clearish but easily roiled creek 3-20 feet wide (Hubbs 1940).


Mesohabitat: Pena Colorado Creek flows between clay banks in a desert flat, over mud and stones, forming pools, riffles and narrow swift sections; some vegetation present (Hubbs 1940).



Spawning season: No information at this time.


Spawning habitat: No information at this time.


Spawning Behavior: No information at this time.


Fecundity:  No information at this time.


Age at maturation:  No information at this time.


Migration: No information at this time.


Growth and Population structure:  No information at this time.


Longevity: No information at this time.


Food habits: No information at this time.


Phylogeny and morphologically similar fishes

A subspecies of the red shiner (Cyprinella lutrensis; Hubbs 1940); C. l. blairi has a smaller dorsal fin, the origin of which is usually more posterior than that of C. lutrensis; further, C. l. blairi is thick-bodied, has broadly rounded muzzle, a lower jaw which is slightly or not included, and small tubercles which are not developed around the snout, while C. lutrensis is slab-sided, has a rather sharp muzzle, a lower jaw which is definitely included, and large tubercles (in high males) forming a projecting pad around tip of snout.


Host Records

 No information at this time.


Commercial or Environmental Importance

No information at this time.



Contreras-Balderas, S. 1975. Zoogeography and evolution of Notropis lutrensis and “Notropis ornatus in the Rio Grande basin and range, Mexico and United States (Pisces: Cyprinidae). Unpubl. Ph.D. dissertation, Tulane Universtiy, New Orleans, Louisiana.

Hubbs, C.L. 1940. Fishes form the Big Bend region of Texas. Transactions of the Texas Academy of Science 23:3-12.

Hubbs, C.L. 1954. Establishment of a forage fish, the red shiner (Notropis lutrensis), in the lower Colorado River system. California Fish and Game 40:287-294.

Matthews, W.J. 1987. Geographic variation in Cyprinella lutrensis (Pisces, Cyprinidae) in the United States, with notes on Cyprinella lepida. Copeia (3):616-637.

Miller, R.R, J.D. Williams, and J.E. Williams. 1989. Extinctions of North American fishes during the past century. Fisheries 14(6):22-38.

Scharpf, C. 2005. Annotated checklist of North American freshwater fishes, including subspecies and undescribed forms, Part 1: Petromyzontidae through Cyprinidae. American Currents, Special Publication 31(4):1-44.