Greenside Darter

Etheostoma blennioides

greenside_darter.jpg

Image of a greenside darter fish
Joseph R. Tomelleri. Used with permission.
Family

Percidae (perches) in the order Perciformes (perchlike fish)

Description

Olive to yellow sides and back with scattered red spots and vertical blotches often arranged in a “V” or “W” pattern. Breeding males have bright blue-green on head and lower fins and green vertical bars. Second largest Missouri darter in size next to the logperch.

Size

Total length: 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 inches; to more than 5 1/2 inches.

Habitat and conservation

Swift to moderate current in streams and rivers with rocky or gravel riffles throughout the Ozarks. Avoids the smallest headwater creeks; most abundant in rivers of moderate size.

Foods

Larvae of aquatic insects including midges, caddisflies and mayflies; small crustaceans; snails.

image of Greenside Darter Distribution Map
Distribution in Missouri

A fish of the Ozarks. Limited to the southern half of the state.

Status

One of the most abundant and widespread darters in the Ozarks, and the limits of its distribution mark the boundaries of that region in Missouri to a remarkable degree. The few places it occurs in our state, outside the Ozarks, include Auxvasse Creek and Loutre River (Callaway and Montgomery counties) and the Little Osage and Marmaton rivers (Vernon County).

Life cycle

They can live for 5 years and are most active in daytime. This species spawns earlier than most Missouri darters, beginning by late March and completed by the end of April. Like the banded darter, this species attaches eggs to strands of filamentous algae and aquatic mosses. The males occupy and defend territories.