SCIENTIFIC NAME: Etheostoma chuckwachatte
CHARACTERISTICS: The lipstick, Tuskaloosa, and Etowah darters were considered a single species, the greenbreast darter, Etheostoma jordani, until recently (Wood and Mayden, 1993). Red lips, bright red spots along the sides, a broad red band in the anal fin of adult males, and scales on the opercles distinguish the lipstick darter from other members of the E. jordani species group. The lipstick darter is distinguishable from other species in the subgenus Nothonotus by the absence of dark horizontal lines between scale rows, by lack of dark mottling along the sides, and by absence of a broad red band in the caudal fin of males.
ADULT SIZE: 1.2 to 2.2 in (30 to 55 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: Etheostoma chuckwachatte is endemic to the Tallapoosa River system of the Mobile basin in Alabama and Georgia. Collection records are limited almost exclusively to the northern Piedmont Upland.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: Adult lipstick darters inhabit riffles of medium to large streams with a moderate to swift current and gravel, cobble, and boulder substrates. Orr and Ramsey (1990) report that populations in Hillabee Creek spawn from late April to late June, with peak activity in May. Adhesive eggs are buried in the sand. These authors speculate that individuals they examined had a life span of two or more years. Like many riffle-dwelling darters, the lipstick darter eats aquatic insect larvae.
REMARKS: The type locality of the lipstick darter is Hillabee Creek near Alexander City, Tallapoosa County, Alabama.
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Wood and Mayden described the lipstick darter in 1993.
Etheostoma means strain mouth, possibly referring to the small mouth.
Chuckwachatte means anglicized version of the Creek words for mouth and red lips, referring to the red lips of breeding males.
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.