Etheostoma nigrum

Etheostoma nigrum
Johnny Darter – Etheostoma nigrum
Photo Credit: NANFA

Etheostoma nigrum

FamilyScientific NameAuthorYearCommon Name
PercidaeEtheostoma nigrumRafinesque1820Johnny Darter

Note: The taxonomic status of Johnny Darter, Etheostoma nigrum,  and Tessellated Darter, E. olmstedi, has been unsettled for a long time. In North Carolina Johnny Darter is found primarily upstream from the Fall Zone in the Piedmont regions of the Roanoke, Tar, and Neuse basins. Tessellated Darter in North Carolina is found in all river basins east of the Mountains with an introduced population in the New basin. The two species are sympatric near the Fall Zone along the eastern Piedmont and western Coastal Plain in the Neuse, Tar, and Roanoke basins.

Unique Characteristics: Belly and interpelvic area lacking modified scales. Lateral line normal, not arched upward. 1st  anal spine flexible; anal rays 7 or 8 (7-10). Lateral line scales 39-45. Nape and cheek naked or poorly scaled. Gill membranes narrowly joined, 55-75°. Caudal fin truncate. Infraorbital canal incomplete.

Riverweed Darter
Etheostoma podostemone

Tessellated Darter
Etheostoma olmstedi

Etheostoma podostemone
Riverweed Darter – Etheostoma podostemone
Etheostoma olmstedi
Tessellated Darter – Etheostoma olmstedi

Riverweed Darter Etheostoma podostemone. Belly and interpelvic area lacking modified scales. Lateral line normal, not arched upward. 1st  anal spine flexible, as thin as 2nd anal spine. Gill membranes broadly joined, 100-110°. Caudal fin rounded. Breeding males with bright orange spots in both dorsal fins and in caudal fin. Restricted to the upper and middle Dan River system in the Roanoke basin.

Tessellated Darter Etheostoma olmstedi. Belly and interpelvic area lacking modified scales. Lateral line normal, not arched upward. Gill membranes narrowly joined, 55-75°. 1st  anal spine flexible, as thin as 2nd anal spine (anal spine 1 east of Cape Fear basin); anal rays 7 or 8 (7-10). Lateral line scales 43-54. Nape and cheek naked or poorly scaled. Caudal fin emarginate or truncate. Infraorbital canal normally complete.

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