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Darters

Alabama - The Alabama darter is appropriately named as it is endemic to (only lives in) Alabama, and it is found in the Alabama River.

Amber - The amber darter is a federally endangered species that is endemic to the Conasauga and Etowah river systems in the upper Coosa River system of Georgia and Tennessee.

Ashy - A large, dusky yellow darter, the ashy darter has not been collected in Alabama since 1845, though a 1981 Elk River collection near Fayetteville, Tennessee, offers hope that the species may still inhabit state waters near the Alabama-Tennessee state line.

Backwater - The backwater darter is one of the few types of darter that prefers sluggish, marl-laden streams draining the Black Belt across the central part of the state.

Banded - The banded darter is distinguishable from the brighteye darter by having 46 to 56 lateral line scales compared with 39 to 43 for the brighteye darter, and, in Alabama, the banded darter is limited to Tennessee River tributaries.

Bandfin - The bandfin darter is only found in the Bear Creek system, a tributary to the Tennessee River, and is similar to the Coosa darter.

Black - Endemic to and abundant in the Tennessee basin, the black darter is easily recognized by its mid-lateral stripe and is distinguished from the similar snubnose darter by the black darter's absence of a frenum on the upper lip and by having a more pronounced snout.

Blackbanded - Except for in the Tennessee basin, the blackbanded darter is the most widespread and abundant percid species in Alabama.

Blackfin - Found in Tennessee River tributaries, the blackfin darter has a dusky gray or black soft dorsal fin margin and three branches per soft dorsal fin ray.

Blackside - The blackside darter is similar to the undescribed “muscadine darter” except is has more soft dorsal fin rays and more lateral line scales.

Blenny - Found in the swiftest waters of streams in the middle and lower Tennessee River drainage in Tennessee and Alabama and from Duck River system, the blenny darter has an unusual shape, blue lips, and a green head.

Blotchside Logperch - Endemic to the Tennessee River system, the blotchside logperch has an orange submarginal band in the anterior part of the spiny dorsal fin, which distinguishes the blotchside logperch from the logperch, which has an uncolored spiny dorsal fin.

Bluebreast - Relatively recently found in Alabama's Elk River, the bluebreast darter is found in similar habitat with the boulder darter and the redline darter.

Blueside - Similar to the speckled darter, the blueside darter is found in tributaries to the Tennessee River.

Bluntnose - In Alabama's Mobile basin, the rather colorless bluntnose darter is found below the Fall Line.

Boulder - The endangered boulder darter is native to the Elk River system in Alabama and Tennessee.

Brighteye - Similar to the banded darter, the brighteye darter is a short, colorful Coastal Plain darter with yellow, orange, greens, blues and violet coloration and distinct pre-, sub-, and postorbital bars.

Bronze - Found most often above the Fall Line, the bronze darter is endemic to the Mobile Basin.

Brown - An endemic to the Gulf Coastal Plain, the brown darter in Alabama occurs in the Perdido River, lower Conecuh River, Blackwater and Yellow rivers, Choctawhatchee River, and the Chattahoochee River upstream to the Fall Line.

Choctawhatchee - The rather blandly colored Choctawhatchee darter is distributed in Alabama and Florida from the Escambia River drainage east to the Choctawhatchee River drainage on the Coastal Plain.

Coal - The coal darter is endemic to Alabama; common to the Cahaba River, it is occasionally found in other Mobile basin streams.

Coastal - The coastal darter is one of the most colorful of the darters that are limited to the Coastal Plain.

Coldwater - Endemic to the Coosa River system, the coldwater darter likes springs and aquatic vegetation.

Coosa - The Coosa darter is endemic to the Coosa River system in Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia.

Crown - Known only from the Cypress Creek system of Alabama and Tennessee, the soft dorsal fin of the crown darter looks like a crown due to its branched rays.

Crystal - The rare and protected crystal darter has the interesting habit of burying itself in the sand, leaving only its eyes above exposed, presumably to minimize body movement, thus conserving energy, and to maintain its position in the swift waters of sand and gravel bars of Coastal Plain streams.

Cypress - The cypress darter is a wide ranging darter of sluggish streams and swamps whose males exhibit chin-bobbing behavior to attract females to spawn.

Dusky - Found in the upper Tombigbee River before the Waterway, recent collections are from the Tennessee River drainage and lower Alabama River system.

Fantail - Similar to the stripetail darter, the fantail darter is one of the darters whose male members have knobs on the spiny dorsal and live in some of the tributaries to the Tennessee River.

Florida Sand - Inhabiting the coastal rivers of eastern Alabama and western Florida, the Florida sand darter is similar to the thin, lightly scaled naked sand darter, but the Florida sand darter has an additional dark band in the spiny dorsal fin.

Freckled - Found from the Pearl River system in Mississippi east to the Mobile basin, most records of freckled darters in the Mobile basin are below the Fall Line, although scattered records exist just above this line in the Cahaba and Coosa river systems and in the upper Coosa River system in Georgia.

Fringed - Similar to the crown darter, the fringed darter has a dark soft dorsal fin with a white margin and three branches per ray.

Gilt - The gilt darter is found in the Mississippi basin including Bear Creek, Shoal Creek, and upper Elk River, and the gilt darter is similar in appearance to the bronze darter that lives in the Mobile basin.

Goldline - Affected by siltation, the goldline darter is a Mobile basin endemic that is listed as a threatened species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Goldstripe - Goldstripe darters are most frequently found in the wood debris, leaf material, mud, silt and sand of smaller Coastal Plain streams.

Greenbreast - The greenbreast darter is endemic to, but widespread in, the eastern Mobile basin.

Greenside - Alabama's largest Etheostoma darter, the greenside darter 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.

Gulf - Most similar in appearance to the coldwater darter and the watercress darter that prefer habitat near springs, the gulf darter prefers faster flows and gravel substrate.

Gulf Logperch - A single thin reddish orange submarginal band in the spiny dorsal fin distinguishes this species and the Mobile logperch from the similar Percina caprodes found in the Tennessee River drainage. and in the Mobile logperch, the body bars are generally wider than in the gulf logperch.

Harlequin - The harlequin darter has a widespread distribution, but the harlequin darter is rarely encountered.

Holiday - Also found in Georgia and Tennessee, only a small population of the colorful holiday darters live in Alabama.

Johnny - Though widespread in the Mississippi basin, the johnny darter in Alabama is limited to some Tennessee River tributaries.

Lipstick - Endemic to the Tallapoosa portion of the Mobile basin, the lipstick darter is named for the lips of males turning red during the breeding season in late April to late June.

Logperch - The logperch, of the subgenus Percina, is one of the largest and most distinctive darters, and it is distinguished from the “Mobile logperch” and the “Gulf logperch” by its spiny dorsal fin with no orange or red banding.

Lollipop - Named for its odd soft dorsal fin, the lollipop darter is endemic to the Shoal Creek system of northwestern Alabama and southern Tennessee.

Mobile Logperch - Endemic to the Mobile basin, the Mobile logperch is distinguished from the logperch because the Mobile logperch has a single, wide reddish orange submarginal band in the spiny dorsal fin, bordered by a thin black band on the margin and a broad black band at the base.

Muscadine - The “muscadine" darter is a newly named, although long recognized, species of the subgenus Alvordius found in disjunct populations in the Sipsey Fork of the Black Warrior River system and the Piedmont portion of the Tallapoosa River system.

Naked Sand - Found above and below the fall line, the naked sand darter has relatively few scales, is almost transparent, and has a dark submarginal band on both dorsal fins.

Rainbow - Common throughout many of the Mississippi River tributaries, the colorful rainbow darter is limited in Alabama to some of the Tennessee River tributaries.

Redline - Found in the Tennessee and Cumberland drainages, the colorful redline darter is distinctive with its bars on its cheek and gill cover, horizontal bars on its body, broad caudal peduncle and large yellow spots at the base of the caudal fin.

Redspot - The redspot darter is a colorful, wide ranging darter notably absent from the upper Coosa and Tallapoosa systems.

River - The river darter is a darkly colored darter that prefers medium to large streams and rivers with a moderate to swift current and substrates of gravel, rubble, or partially exposed bedrock, as is commonly encountered at the head or foot of riffles and shoals.

Rock - The rock darter is a Mobile basin endemic with green V- or W-shaped blotches on its back, green fins and a greenish head.

Rush - The rush darter is a fish only found in few miles of streams in Winston County and Jefferson County, Alabama.

Saddleback - Found mostly below the Fall Line, the saddleback darter has eyes set more on top of the head and less pigmentation than other members of Imostoma.

Slackwater - On the federal threatened species list, the slackwater darter is only found in tributaries to the Tennessee River in Alabama and the Buffalo River in Tennessee.

Slenderhead - Though the slenderhead darter is commonly found throughout the northern Mississippi River basin, records of the slenderhead darter in Alabama are limited to a few specimens in the Bear Creek system of the Tennessee River.

Snail - Only found in Alabama and Tennessee, the Alabama population of the federally threatened snail darter is limited to the Paint Rock River.

Snubnose - A short nose and head distinguishes the snubnose darter of the Tennessee and Cumberland drainages.

Southern Logperch - The southern logperch, one of Alabama’s most recently described darter species, is found only in the Choctawhatchee and Conecuh river drainages in Alabama and Florida and closely resembles two other logperch species in the state, the “Mobile logperch” and the “Gulf logperch."

Southern Sand - The southern sand darter is a thin darter that only lives in the lower Mobile basin.

Speckled - Similar to the blueside darter, the breeding males of the speckled darter have eight large turquoise bars along their sides.

Stripetail - Vertical black bands on the tail give the stripetail darter its name; another characteristic is the black spot evident over the pectoral fin, and males have yellow or cream knobs at the tips of individual spines.

Swamp - The swamp darter is often found in slow moving or still Coastal Plain waters.

Tallapoosa - Endemic to the Tallapoosa River system, the Tallapoosa darter has chocolate brown blotches along the lateral line, orange and blue markings, and is only found in the Piedmont Upland above the Fall Line.

Tennessee - Tennessee darters in Alabama were former known as a population of snubnose darters, but in 2007 Powers and Maden elevated them to species status as Tennessee darters.

Tombigbee - Endemic to the Tombigbee River drainage, the Tombigbee darter is generally found below the Fall Line, but it is absent from the Black Belt.

Trispot - The trispot darter was originally described from specimens in Alabama from creek inundated by Lake Weiss; an Alabama population was found in Little Canoe Creek in 2010.

Tuscumbia - Endemic to the Highland Rim of the Tennessee River in Alabama, this fish is named for Tuscumbia Spring where it was originally discovered.

Tuskaloosa - With its common name taken from Chief Tuskaloosa, the Tuskaloosa darter is an Alabama endemic, only found in the Locust Fork system and upper Sipsey Fork systems in Alabama.

Vermilion - Listed on the federal endangered species list, the vermilion darter is an Alabama endemic; it is only found in Turkey Creek, Jefferson County, Alabama.

Warrior - An Alabama endemic, the Warrior darter is found in the upper Warrior River system, and the Warrior darter has an orange belly stripe, which distinguishes it from its closest relative the vermilion darter.

Watercress - Endangered watercress darters are only known to live in the spring pools of Watercress Darter National Wildlife Refuge and other springs near Bessemer, Alabama.

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