SCIENTIFIC NAME: Etheostoma douglasi
CHARACTERISTICS: The Tuskaloosa darter is distinguishable from other members of the Etheostoma jordani species group (see greenbreast darter species account) by the lack of red spots along the sides, absence of scales on the opercles, and by having no red pigment on the lips and anal fin. The body of breeding males is olive with a weakly formed pattern of three to 11 dark vertical bars along the sides. The back has eight or nine olive to brown blotches. Lower parts of the head, breast, and gill membranes are turquoise. The spiny dorsal fin has a clear to white margin with a submarginal red band most prominent on the front of the fin. The caudal fin has a narrow turquoise or black margin followed by a yellow band, which precedes a broad red band.
ADULT SIZE: 1.2 to 2 in (30 to 50 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: Collection records of E. douglasi are limited to disjunct populations in the Locust Fork system and upper Sipsey Fork system in the Bankhead Forest. Both systems lie above the Fall Line in the Cumberland Plateau physiographic province and are tributaries of the Black Warrior River system of the Mobile basin.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: Adults of this species occur in cobble, gravel, and slab riffles of moderate to swift flow. Spawning occurs from late April to early June, peaking in May. O’Neil (1980) reports females with mature ova ready for spawning in April and May. The diet of E. douglasi is presumably similar to that of E. jordani, which consumes midge larvae, mayflies, water mites, caddisflies, and occasionally some mollusks.
REMARKS: The type locality for the Tuskaloosa darter is the West Fork of the Sipsey River, Winston County, Alabama.
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Wood and Mayden described the Tuskaloosa darter in 1993.
Etheostoma means strain mouth, possibly referring to the small mouth.
Douglasi means in honor of Neil H. Douglas, biology professor at Northwestern Louisiana State University and contributor to southeastern ichthyology.
The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.