greenside darter

Greenside Darter (Etheostoma blennioides)

This species lives in the Ohio and Tennessee River basins with disjunct populations in the Ozark region of Missouri and Arkansas and some populations in the Great Lakes drainage of northern Ohio, southern Michigan, and southern Ontario. Possibly it reached Lake Erie through the Wabash-Maumee connection. On the Atlantic coast, there are populations in the Potomac and a few western tributaries of the Susquehanna, which it apparently reached from the Allegheny. It also occurs in the Mohawk system.

In New York State, two subspecies are represented: E. b. blennioides lives in the Allegheny and Upper Genesee and E. b. pholidotum inhabits the Great Lakes, Lower Genesee and Mohawk systems. This indicates that the Mohawk population reached there from the Great Lakes rather than from the Susquehanna. It is possible that it reached the Mohawk during the Lake Warren stage or slightly later. Apparently, there are two populations in the Mohawk, one in Oriskany Creek and one in Schoharie Creek and eastward.

The greenside inhabits deeper riffles with cobbles and often some algae. It is most common in moderate-sized to larger streams. Small individuals are sometimes found in somewhat slower backwater areas.

The greenside darter spawns in New York from the second week in April until June. Spawning takes place in swift riffles and the eggs are deposited on algae on rocks. Spawning is initiated when the wa- ter temperature reaches 51 F. Spawning takes place mostly at night and the eggs are laid in batches of 2 to 192 eggs. An individual may spawn as often as 5 times a night and the aver- age female spawns approximately 37 times during a season. The eggs are demersal and adhesive and about 1.85 mm in diameter. Hatching takes place in 18 days at 55 to 58 F and the yolk sac is absorbed in 6 days at 60 F.Most individuals live 36 to 39 months; a few survive into the fourth or fifth growing season.

Both large and small greenside darters feed on mayfly and midge larvae. Small young eat some entomostracans.


Distribution of greenside darters in NY state.

An image of the greenside darter is also available for download.

The above species description and all pictures of this fish were taken out of "The Inland Fishes of New York State" by C. Lavett Smith, published by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 1985.

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