by Rachel McGuire
THE AUBURN UNIVERSITY WATER RESOURCES CENTER (AUWRC) TEAM WISHES YOU A HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! WE’D LIKE TO TAKE THE OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE A LITTLE LOVE TO ONE OF OUR ALABAMA FRESHWATER TREASURES: DARTERS!
Darters are a group of small, slender freshwater fish in the family Percidae (Perch family) that are native to eastern North America. Most live near the bottom of clear streams and “dart” quickly when disturbed or when feeding. Darters eat small aquatic insects and worms. Some darters are exceptionally showy with bright colors and patterns that rival most tropical fish available at your local pet shop! During the breeding season, male colors become even brighter, sometimes, even expanding to additional parts of the body. For most darters in Alabama, spawning season occurs from early spring to early summer.
Darters of Alabama
Did you know there are 78 species of darter in Alabama alone!? Many of those species are considered rare, threatened, or endangered. The rarest of the rare, the Vermillion Darter, is only found in a few locations in Jefferson County, Alabama. You can read more about most of the darter species found in Alabama on the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources website. In the meantime, scroll down to see some of the beautiful species found in Alabama!
A male Rainbow Darter found in Hester Creek in Madison County, Alabama. Photo Credit: Alan Cressler
A Black Darter found in Madison County, Alabama. Photo Credit: Alan Cressler
A Brown Darter found in Gilchrist Blue Spring State Park in Gilchrist County, Florida Photo Credit: Alan Cressler
Dr. Kara Million of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County has been serving up laughs on Twitter with her darter-themed Valentine’s Card puns: #MyFishyValentine. Many of the cards feature some of her favorite darter species. Here’s some of our favorites from Dr. Million:
Follow Dr. Kara Million (@darterdancer) on Twitter for more laughs.