SCIENTIFIC NAME: Etheostoma blennioides

CHARACTERISTICS: The greenside darter is the largest species of Etheostoma in Alabama. It is readily distinguishable by a fusion of tissue over the upper jaw with the tissue on the snout and by very broadly connected gill membranes. Body color is generally yellow-green with five to eight dark green vertical bars or dark W- or U-shaped marks along the sides, and six to seven dark square saddles on the back. The dorsal fins are green with orange-red bands at the base; other fins are either green or clear with green bands. The pelvic, pectoral, and anal fin rays become thickened in both males and females during the breeding season. Four subspecies are recognized in this wide-ranging darter (Miller, 1968), with E. b. newmanii found in Alabama.

ADULT SIZE: 2.6 to 4.5 in (65 to 115 mm)

DISTRIBUTION: The greenside darter is distributed throughout the Ohio, Cumberland, and Tennessee river drainages, as well as western tributaries of the Mississippi River in Missouri and Arkansas. In Alabama it is restricted to the Tennessee River drainage and occurs most frequently in the Bear Creek, Paint Rock River, Elk River, and Shoal Creek systems.

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: Etheostoma blennioides occupies a variety of habitats, but is most often found in large creeks and small rivers with gravel and rubble riffles and shoal areas. Individuals often retreat to deeper pools during winter months. This species is usually present in large numbers and frequently associated with algae and aquatic moss (Fahy, 1954). McCormick and Aspinwall (1983) found that greenside darters were attracted to aquatic vegetation and algae by distinct olfactory stimulation. Spawning occurs in these vegetated areas or sandy areas in riffles from April through June. Food of the greenside darter consists of snails and aquatic insect larvae including mayflies, blackflies, and caddisflies typical of a swift riffle habitat.

ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Rafinesque described the greenside darter in 1819.

Etheostoma means strain mouth, possibly referring to the small mouth.

Blennioides means blennylike, in reference to the Mediterranean blennies Rafinesque knew from Europe

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