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Tombigbee

TOMBIGBEE DARTER

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Etheostoma lachneri

CHARACTERISTICS: Breeding males of the Tombigbee darter are distinguished from those of other Ulocentra species by having slightly oblique, dark green bars with bright orange interspaces along the side and caudal peduncle. Color along the back and upper sides is variable, consisting of red-orange in a loose network pattern rather than discrete blotches. The snout, lips, gill membranes, lower gill covers, and breast are green or turquoise. The anal fin is generally deep turquoise, while the caudal fin has turquoise margins and a pale turquoise or nearly clear central portion. See Suttkus et al. (1994) for original description.

ADULT SIZE: 1.4 to 1.8 in (35 to 45 mm)

DISTRIBTION: Etheostoma lachneri is distributed below the Fall Line in the Tombigbee River drainage of the Mobile basin. We also have collections above the Fall Line from a few selected localities in the Black Warrior River and the Sipsey River system, a Tombigbee tributary. This species is notably absent in the Black Belt region where physiography changes dramatically.  

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: The Tombigbee darter occurs in a variety of habitats, from small streams with sand and gravel substrates to large streams with mixtures of sand, gravel and hard clay or bedrock. Although this is a Coastal Plain species, we routinely collect individual in areas of hard, fractured substrate, around significant snag cover, and in bridge rubble and culverts with accumulated debris. Our observations indicate that spawning color becomes evident in February, and spawning occurs from early March though May. The diet of this species is presumably similar to that of other Ulocentra, composed predominantly of insect larvae.

REMARKS: The type locality for the Tombigbee darter is Wolf Creek, a tributary to Little Souwilpa Creek in Choctaw County, Alabama.

ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Suttkus and Bailey described the tombigbee darter in 1994.

ETYMOLOGY:
Etheostoma means strain mouth, possibly referring to the small mouth.
Lachneri in honor of Ernest A. Lachner, a prolific contributor to North American ichthyology.

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

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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