SCIENTIFIC NAME: Noturus elegans
CHARACTERISTICS: In his original description of this species, Taylor (1969) notes that specimens from several locations in Alabama and Tennessee are only tentatively identified as elegant madtoms because several characters differ from those of typical populations in Kentucky. Elegant madtoms in Alabama have a more robust body. A brown blotch at the front of the dorsal fin covers the dorsal spine and the lower half of the first three or four rays; the remainder is unpigmented. The pectoral spine is short and has five to nine prominent teeth on its posterior edge. Anal fin rays number 14 to 18. The back is yellowish gray to dark brown, with four light yellow saddles grading to creamy white on the venter. Two or three dark bands mark the caudal fin. J.M. Grady and B.M. Burr are investigating the taxonomic status of elegant madtoms in Alabama and Tennessee.
ADULT SIZE: 2.5 to 3.0 in (64 to 75 mm)
DISTRIBUTION: Specimens have been collected at four widely spaced locations in Alabama. The largest sample came from the west fork of theFlint River in 1969 (Tennessee Valley Authority, 1971). Feeman (1987) reported the last collections-from the upper Paint Rock River drainage-in 1981. Our repeated collection efforts there have been unfruitful, but our success with other species of marginal or historical occurrence leads us to believe that Noturus elegans still occurs in north Alabama.
HABITAT AND BIOLOGY: This species inhabits high gradient streams with moderate to swift current flowing over boulders, bedrock, and clean sand and gravel substrates. Burr and Dimmick (1981) observed three nests, each one guarded by a male, under flat rocks in pools of a Kentucky stream in June; water temperature was 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). Elegant madtoms probably feed on small crustaceans and aquatic insect larvae.
ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION: The elegant madtom was described by Taylor in 1969.
Noturus means back tail, referring to fusion of the adipose and caudal fins.
Elegans means elegant, referring to the species" handsomely colored body and fins.
The copyrighted information above is from Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin.