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Southern Sand

SOUTHERN SAND DARTER

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Ammocrypta meridiana

CHARACTERISTICS: Ammocrypta meridiana is distinguished from other sand darter species by extensive body scalation, compared to the naked body of A. beani and A. bifascia. A. meridiana’s cheeks and opercles are scaled while the venter is naked. The back has 10 to 15 small, irregular blotches of varying intensity that may be divided into pairs. Eight to 13 small, faint lateral blotches of varying size, intensity, and location are present along the sides. The median fins are clear, without the intense pigmentation of A. beani and A. bifascia. The body is flushed with pale yellow-orange to a more intense orange along the sides and back with a broad, iridescent, blue-green band along the lateral line. The cheeks and opercles are iridescent bluish green with the lower jaw iridescent blue. The snout is orange-yellow.

ADULT SIZE: 1.8 to 2.4 in (45 to 60 mm)

DISTRIBUTION: The southern sand darter is restricted to the Mobile basin below the Fall Line.

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: The southern sand darter is found in rivers and large streams with a moderate current over sand and mixed sand-silt substrates. Species commonly taken with the southern sand darter are the silverjaw minnow, Ericymba buccata, orangefin shiner, Notropis ammophilus, and the naked sand darter, A. beani. Simon et al. (1992) report spawning over clean sand and gravel riffles during the months of May and June in the lower portions of the Cahaba River, which coincides with our observations of spawning times for this species.

REMARKS: The type locality for A. meridiana is Cedar Creek near Sardis, Dallas County, Alabama.

ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Williams described the southern sand darter in 1975.

ETYMOLOGY:
Ammocrypta means sand-concealed, referring to this species’ habit of hiding in the sand with only their eyes exposed.
Meridiana means a derivative of meridionalis, meaning southern.

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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