SCIENTIFIC NAME: Etheostoma ditrema

CHARACTERISTICS: The coldwater darter is a small, somewhat slender species with a moderately arched and incompletely pored lateral line. The color of male Etheostoma ditrema is generally uniform brown on the back with faint longitudinal lines on the upper part of the sides. The venter and caudal peduncle are orange to red-orange, while the spiny dorsal fin is blue marginally and basally with a red-orange submarginal band. Other fins are generally light yellow with brown bands.

ADULT SIZE: 1 to 1.9 in (25 to 49 mm)

DISTRIBUTION: The coldwater darter is endemic to the Coosa River system of the Mobile basin, occurring intermittently from the Conasauga River downstream to Waxahatchee Creek in Chilton and Shelby counties.

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: Preferred habitats of the coldwater darter include vegetated springs, spring runs, and small streams in areas of extensive spring development. Specimens collected in Beeswax Creek in Shelby County were found over aquatic moss and algae in a shoal area about 12 inches deep. In spring habitats, Etheostoma ditrema is associated with water milfoil and aquatic moss, with moss being the preferred substrate (Seesock, 1979). This species has an extended spawning season in spring habitat, lasting from March through September with peak activity between April and June. Seesock (1979) reports that adhesive eggs are deposited on leaves in beds of water milfoil and possibly on moss during vertical spawnings. Individuals may live to be two years old. Coldwater darters feed on crustaceans associated with spring habitats, including amphipods, isopods, and copepods as well as midge larvae and lesser amounts of other aquatic insect larvae.

REMARKS: The type locality for the coldwater darter is a spring tributary to Mills Creek near Lyerly, Chattooga County, Georgia. The species is protected by rules and regulations of the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division.

Ramsey and Suttkus described the coldwater darter in 1965.

Etheostomameans strain mouth, possibly referring to the small mouth.
Ditrema means two-holed, referring to the two coronal pores present in the original populations discovered.

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