SCIENTIFIC NAME: Percina palmaris
Characteristics: Has eight to 10 broad saddles on the back that extend downward through the lateral band onto the venter. Bronze darters are brown to yellow along the back, grading to light tan along the sides, venter, and breast. Breeding males acquire a deep bronze color tinted with green at the height of nuptial activity. Three distinct dark spots and two larger lighter patches are present at the caudal fin base. The spiny dorsal fin of breeding males has a white margin and light orange base; all other fins are light yellow or clear. Denoncourt (1976) reports marked sexual dimorphism, with males having significantly higher fin ray counts and longer dorsal and anal fins than do females. Percina palmaris is distinguished from the gilt darter, P. evides, by the absence of the distinct suborbital bar and the orange-gold color in the head region.
ADULT SIZE: 2.2 to 3.9 in (55 to 100 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: The bronze darter is endemic to the Mobile basin. Most collection records are from above the Fall Line in the Tallapoosa and Coosa river systems. This is one of the more common darter species in the Tallapoosa River main channel between R. L. Harris and Martin lakes.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: Percina palmaris is found in moderate to swift riffles over gravel, cobble, or small boulders in streams and rivers, and it is frequently associated with water willow or river weed. Our observations indicate spawning from late march through late May. Wieland (1983) reports a life span of three to four years and a diet of midge larvae, mayflies, blackflies, caddisflies, stoneflies, and snails.
REMARKS: The type locality for the bronze darter is the Etowah River near Dahlonega, Lumpkin County, Georgia.
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Bailey described the bronze darter in 1940.
Percina is a diminutive of Perca, meaning perch.
Palmaris means prize, which P. M. Bailey left undefined in the original description.
The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin