SCIENTIFIC NAME: Etheostoma chlorosomum

CHARACTERISTICS: The bluntnose darter is a slender species with a blunt snout. Live individuals are often translucent. The body color is generally light yellow or olive with brown or black markings. The back has six to seven diffuse saddles and the sides have eight to 10 X-, V-, or W-shaped blotches. Thin black preorbital bars form a continuous bridle around the snout, extending slightly onto the upper lip. This continuous bridle distinguishes Etheostoma chlorosomum from the similar Johnny darter, E. nigrum, which has an interrupted bridle. A small but clearly visible spot is present at the base of the caudal fin. Black bands develop in the spiny dorsal fin of breeding males. The enlarged genital papilla of the female is also characteristic of this species.

ADULT SIZE: 1.2 to 2 in (30 to 50 mm)

DISTRIBUTION: Widely distributed, the bluntnose darter occurs throughout the Mississippi basin from Minnesota to Louisiana and in Gulf coastal drainages from San Antonio Bay east to the Mobile basin. In the Mobile basin, E. chlorosomum is found below the Fall Line in the Tombigbee and Alabama river drainages.

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: We have collected bluntnose darters in low-gradient streams, pools, oxbow lakes, ponds, and around the margins of lakes in the Coastal Plain, most of which are perceived as less than favorable habitats for most darter species. This species prefers muddy or sandy substrates. Individuals in obvious spawning condition have been collected in April. Page et al. (1982) report that eggs are placed on plants or plant debris. We have never taken bluntnose darters in large numbers, despite their wide distribution. Our largest series came from Horsehunter Creek, Noxubee County, Mississippi in May 1995. Etnier and Starnes (1993) report a diet of aquatic insects including caddisflies, beetles, and midge larvae.

ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Hay described the bluntnose darter in 1881.

Etheostoma means strain mouth, possibly referring to the small mouth.

Chlorosomum means green body.

The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.