Tuesday 21 May
Least darter (Etheostoma microperca)
What’s the World’s Favourite Species?Find out here.
Least darter fact file
- Find out more
- Print factsheet
Least darter description
The least darter (Etheostoma microperca) is a small, robust freshwater fish found in North America (3). It has a deep, flattened body, a rounded snout, large eyes and an unscaled breast (4). It is olive-brown above and white to yellow on the underside. There is a series of dark blotches along the sides, a distinct black line runs through the snout and eyes, and there is a dark teardrop under the eyes. There is also black spotting on the underside (5).
During the breeding season, the male least darter becomes dark green with iridescent green scales and the dark blotches turn black. The caudal fin and the second dorsal fin become milky white with charcoal grey bands, and the pelvic and anal fins become enlarged and bright orange (5).
- Length: up to 4.4 cm (2)
Least darter biology
Very little is known about the biology and behaviour of the least darter. It spawns from February to late July, with the timing of breeding varying across its range. Females are thought to produce at least three clutches of eggs each breeding season (6), and each egg is deposited individually on vegetation (3). The larvae hatch in about six days and reach maturity at a year old. The least darter is thought to live to around 20 months (6).Top
Least darter range
Occurring in the Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins, the least darter is found from eastern Ontario and Minessota, south to Ohio, Indiana, and Illionis, with isolated populations in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma (2) (6).Top
Least darter habitat
The least darter most often inhabits quiet, vegetated lakes, headwaters, creeks and small rivers, where it is usually found over mud and sand. This species also occurs in streams, springs and ponds, and it spawns in shallow, weedy areas (2) (6).Top
Least darter status
The least darter has yet to be classified by the IUCN.Top
Least darter threats
It is not known whether there are any major threats to the least darter.Top
Least darter conservation
The least darter has not been the target of any known conservation measures.Top
Find out more
Find out more about the least darter:
FishBase - Least darter:
This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
- Anal fin
- In fish, an unpaired fin on the under surface of the fish, behind the anus.
- Caudal fin
- The tail fin of a fish.
- A large and diverse group of minute marine and freshwater crustaceans. They usually have an elongated body and a forked tail.
- Dorsal fin
- The unpaired fin found on the back of the body of fish, or the raised structure on the back of most cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises).
- Animals with no backbone, such as insects, crustaceans, worms, molluscs, spiders, cnidarians (jellyfish, corals, sea anemones) and echinoderms.
- Stage in an animal’s lifecycle after it hatches from the egg. Larvae are typically very different in appearance to adults; they are able to feed and move around but usually are unable to reproduce.
- Pelvic fins
- In fish, the pair of fins found on the underside of the body.
- The production or depositing of eggs in water.
Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) (July, 2011)
FishBase - Least darter (July, 2011)
- Smith, P.W. (2002) The Fishes of Illinois. University of Illinois Press, Champaign, Illinois.
- Simon, T.P. (2011) Fishes of Indiana: A Field Guide. Indiana University Press, Indiana.
- Goldstein, R.J., Harper, R.W. and Edwards, R. (2000) American Aquarium Fishes. Texas A&M University Press, Texas.
NatureServe Explorer - Least darter (July, 2011)
More »Related species
Play the Team WILD game
MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.
Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials
Copyright in this website and materials contained on this website (Material) belongs to Wildscreen or its licensors.
Visitors to this website (End Users) are entitled to:
- view the contents of, and Material on, the website;
- download and retain copies of the Material on their personal systems in digital form in low resolution for their own personal use;
- teachers, lecturers and students may incorporate the Material in their educational material (including, but not limited to, their lesson plans, presentations, worksheets and projects) in hard copy and digital format for use within a registered educational establishment, provided that the integrity of the Material is maintained and that copyright ownership and authorship is appropriately acknowledged by the End User.
End Users shall not copy or otherwise extract, alter or manipulate Material other than as permitted in these Terms and Conditions of Use of Materials.
Additional use of flagged material
Green flagged material
Certain Material on this website (Licence 4 Material) displays a green flag next to the Material and is available for not-for-profit conservation or educational use. This material may be used by End Users, who are individuals or organisations that are in our opinion not-for-profit, for their not-for-profit conservation or not-for-profit educational purposes. Low resolution, watermarked images may be copied from this website by such End Users for such purposes. If you require high resolution or non-watermarked versions of the Material, please contact Wildscreen with details of your proposed use.
Creative commons material
Certain Material on this website has been licensed to Wildscreen under a Creative Commons Licence. These images are clearly marked with the Creative Commons buttons and may be used by End Users only in the way allowed by the specific Creative Commons Licence under which they have been submitted. Please see http://creativecommons.org for details.
Any other use
Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details are shown for each media item) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use of Material other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to ARKive are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.
Save as permitted above, no person or organisation is permitted to incorporate any copyright material from this website into any other work or publication in any format (this includes but is not limited to: websites, Apps, CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, signage, digital communications or on printed materials for external or other distribution). Use of the Material for promotional, administrative or for-profit purposes is not permitted.