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Greenbreast

GREENBREAST DARTER

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Etheostoma jordani

CHARACTERISTICS: The greenbreast darter is distinguished from other members of the Etheostoma jordani species group, E. chuckwachatte, E. douglasi, and E. etowahae, by red spots without halos along the sides, olivaceous lips, a turquoise-blue anal fin, and exposed scales on the gill covers. Breeding males are 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. The lower part of the head, breast, and gill membranes are turquoise-blue. The spiny dorsal fin has a clear to white margin and a submarginal red band most prominent in the front section of the fin. The caudal fin margin has a narrow turquoise or black band distally, a median narrow yellow band, and a proximal broad red to orange band.

ADULT SIZE: 1.6 to 2.4 in (40 to 60 mm)

DISTRIBUTION: Etheostoma jordani is endemic to the Alabama River drainage of the eastern Mobile basin. Most of our collection records are confined to the Cahaba and Coosa river systems above the Fall Line; however, scattered locations also exist in the Alabama, Cahaba, and Tallapoosa river systems below the Fall Line.

HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: A riffle-dwelling species, the greenbreast darter is found in cobble, gravel, and slab shoals with moderate to swift current. Peak reproductive activity occurs from late April to late June. Orr and Ramsey (1990) report that E. jordani males and females spawn in sand with only their heads and caudal fins exposed. O’Neil (1980) found that greenbreast darters live to be between two and three years of age, and feed on midge larvae, copepods, cladocerans, mayflies, water mites, caddisflies, and occasionally mollusks.

REMARKS: The description of the greenbreast darter was based on specimens from Choccolo (= Choccolocco) Creek in Calhoun County and Chestnut Creek in Chilton County. Later works designated Choccolocco Creek as the type locality.

ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: Gilbert described the greenbreast darter in 1891.

ETYMOLOGY:
Etheostoma means strain mouth, possibly referring to the small mouth.
Jordani means in honor of David Starr Jordan, the father of North American ichthyology, for his vast contributions to the science.

The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.

Note: In Alabama, it is illegal to stock or move any fish, mussel, snail or crayfish to any public water without a permit.


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