A robust, stout-bodied fish, the gilt darter (Percina evides) is one of the most distinctive and brightly coloured freshwater fish in the United States (3). During the breeding season, the male gilt darter is particularly impressive, with bright bands of orange-red, yellow, and vivid, iridescent blue-green markings on the head, sides, lower body and dorsal fin (3) (4).
Breeding male fish have an intense blue-black pigment on the breast, on the pelvic and dorsal fins, and at the base of the anal fin (3). The male gilt darter also develops breeding tubercles and a row of large, spiny scales along the middle of the belly (3) (4) (5). The breeding female is a more subdued orange or bronze colour, with seven or eight dark bands across the back (6).
At other times of year, the gilt darter has a dark olive upper body, becoming lighter yellow-green on the belly and sides (4) (5). Dark saddles on the back join with dark blotches on the sides to form a series of characteristic vertical bands along the body (3) (4) (5) (7). A bar of dark colour extends down from each eye (4).
- Length: up to 9.6 cm (2)