SCIENTIFIC NAME: Percina aurolineata
CHARACTERISTICS: The goldline darter has broadly joined gill membranes, three vertically placed dark spots at the base of the caudal fin, no breeding tubercles, and a complete, and a complete row of enlarged scales on the midline of the venter. It is distinguished from other members of the subgenus Hadropterus in Alabama by the presence of a continuous or slightly interrupted bright amber or russet stripe extending from the head to the end of the soft dorsal fin between the eight or nine dark lateral blotches and two dorsal fins. The fins are generally dusky and lightly banded, with breeding males developing bright yellow submarginal bands and yellow around the caudal spots.
ADULT SIZE: 1.6 to 2.9 in (40 to 74 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: Percina aurolineata is endemic to the Mobile basin and is represented by two disjunct populations in the Alabama River basin. One is found in the middle Cahaba River system and the other occurs in the Coosawattee River system in Georgia. Stiles (1990) indicates that decreasing densities in the Little Cahaba River population over the last 12 years could be due to increased turbidity and sedimentation in upper reaches of the watershed.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: The preferred habitat of this species is moderate to swift-flowing shallow riffles in main channels of free-flowing rivers, characterized by cobble, small boulders, or bedrock substrates and extensive patches of water willow, Fusticia, or river weed, Podostemum. As in other Hadropterus, spawning occurs early in the year, extending from March through May or June. Individuals in peak nuptial condition can be found in the Cahaba River from late May to early June.
REMARKS: The type locality for P. aurolineata is the Coosawattee River near Ellijay, Gilmer County, Georgia. The goldline darter is listed as a threatened species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Suttkus and Ramsey described the goldline darter in 1967.
Percina a diminutive of Perca, meaning perch.
Aurolineata means gold-lined, referring to the gold stripe on the upper sides.
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.