SCIENTIFIC NAME: Etheostoma tallapoosae
CHARACTERISTICS: The Tallapoosa darter has seven to 10 vertically oval to quadrate, chocolate brown blotches along the lateral line, darkest near the head and fading to brownish orange or orange near the caudal base. Breeding males occasionally have blue-green between the blotches. Etheostoma tallapoosae does not have the red ocellus in the spiny dorsal fin present in several Alabama Ulocentra. The lower part of the head, cheeks, and gill covers are bright blue-green. The spiny dorsal fin has a blue margin followed by a thin white submarginal band. Various bands of brown and black then follow to the fin base. The soft dorsal fin has a prominent central red band throughout its length. Two distinct light brown spots surrounded by yellow are found at the base of the caudal fin.
ADULT SIZE: 1.4 to 2.6 in (35 to 65 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: Etheostoma tallapoosae is endemic to the Tallapoosa River system of the Mobile basin. All our collection records are from above the Fall Line in the Piedmont Upland.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: Tallapoosa darters inhabit small to moderate-sized streams over boulders, rubble, gravel, and/or sand. Breeding individuals have been taken in rubble shoals behind large boulders or logs that create a less turbulent environment. Suttkus and Etnier (1991) report spawning from March through April. Like other Ulocentra, the Tallapoosa darter may spawn in a variety of positions on rocks or logs. The diet of this darter is composed of aquatic insect larvae and possibly microcrustaceans common in its preferred habitat.
REMARKS: The type locality of the Tallapoosa darter is Gold Branch near Eclectic, Elmore County, Alabama.
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Suttkus and Etnier described the Tallapoosa darter in 1991.
Etheostoma means strain mouth, possibly referring to the small mouth.
Tallapoosae is in reference to its distributional range, the Tallapoosa River.
The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.