The red shiner, Cyprinella lutrensis, is native to much of central North America, ranging from South Dakota and Wisconsin to Mexico. The red shiner is not native to Utah, but it has been introduced to the Colorado River and Virgin River systems, where it has become extremely abundant. Both of these river systems contain threatened, endangered, and sensitive fish species that are negatively impacted by the red shiner due to competition for food and habitat.
The red shiner eats primarily small invertebrates, including zooplankton and insects, but some plant matter is also consumed. The species breeds throughout the spring and summer over sand or gravel substrate. Eggs hatch in four to five days. The red shiner is tolerant of poor water conditions, and can often be found in the slow-moving backwaters of rivers and streams.