SCIENTIFIC NAME: Erimystax insignis
CHARACTERISTICS: The blotched chub is often confused with the streamline chub, Erimystax dissimilis, but the blotched chub is a shorter, generally deeper-bodied species. It is characterized by a large eye, a blunt, rounded snout overhanging the upper lip, and a small, inferior mouth. The lateral blotches number seven or eight, are vertically elongate, and are larger than the pupil of the eye. A nuptial individual is light golden to straw in color, with flecks of iridescent black throughout. The caudal fin has two sulfur yellow spots at its base, while the other fins are generally clear or colored with a delicate yellow wash.
ADULT SIZE: 1.8 to 3 in (45 to 75 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: Erimystax insignis is found only in the Tennessee and Cumberland river drainages from Virginia to Alabama. In Alabama it is known from the upper Shoal Creek system, Lauderdale County, and more frequently (but still uncommonly) from the Paint Rock and Flint river systems in northeast Alabama.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: The blotched chub prefers medium-sized or large, clear streams with moderate flow over clean cobble and bedrock substrates. Individuals have been taken on the bottom in chutes below riffles and in aquatic vegetation in the middle or large shoals and riffles. Harris (1986) describes E. insignis as a bottom feeder that consumes mostly midges, blackflies, mayflies, and organisms attached to underwater surfaces. Harris also reports a spawning season in Tennessee that extends from mid-April to early May. In Alabama nuptial individuals from the Paint Rock River have been collected in mid-May.
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Hubbs and Crowe described the blotched chub in 1956.
Erimystax means loosely interpreted, large lip or mustache.
Insignis means remarkable, referring to the lateral pigmentation.
The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.