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Choctawhatchee

CHOCTAWHATCHEE DARTER

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Etheostoma davisoni

CHARACTERISTICS: The Choctawhatchee darter is characterized by a body speckled with seven to 10 dark mid-lateral black and brown markings in W-, X- and M-shapes. Six narrow saddles cross the back and a bridle extends forward from the eyes, encircling the snout. Etheostoma davisoni is similar in appearance to the bluntnose darter, E. chlorosomum, from which it can be distinguished by the bridle of pigment extending over and around the snout. In E. davisoni the bridle is thinner and is confined almost entirely to the tip of the snout, while in E. chlorosomum, it is wider and extends slightly onto the upper lip. The body is the color of straw with an occasional light green wash along the back. The venter and breast are white. Dorsal and caudal fins are banded with light brown. Breeding males are generally dark with pigment spots over the body. Although also similar to E. stigmaeum, E. davisoni lacks nuptial coloration and breeding tubercles in males, and its cheek is completely covered with scales.

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

DISTRIBUTION: The Choctawhatchee darter is distributed in Alabama and Florida from the Escambia River drainage east to the Choctawhatchee River drainage.

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: Etheostoma davisoni inhabits pools characterized by little or no flow. We have collected individuals on sand and gravel substrates and near the margins of flowing waters over sticks, aquatic plants, or root masses. Howell (1968) reports a habitat of sandbars in large rivers, the mouths of sloughs, and small to large streams, with individuals preferring slow pools over sand. Spawning occurs from mid-March to late May.

ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Hay described the Choctawhatchee darter in 1885.

ETYMOLOGY:
Etheostoma strain mouth, possibly referring to the small mouth.
Davisoni in honor of D. M. Davison, a co-founder of the species.

The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin. Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division protects this fish from capture or possession.

Note: In Alabama, it is illegal to stock or move any fish, mussel, snail or crayfish to any public water without a permit.


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