Skip to main content

Darters, Part II

I offer some more photos from Sunday's aquatic excursion - images of those beautiful little fish known as darters. It would be a better place if everyone could see these colorful little jewels in person - any life would be enriched.

Banded Darter, Etheostoma zonale. These elfin beasts lurk in the cobble of riffles, seeking out, attacking, and eating small stream life. I suppose it would be an honor to be consumed by such a beautiful creature. Better than being eaten by a catfish!

Banded Darters are a common stream species in much of Ohio, and have a distinctive pattern of uniform emerald-green stripes along the body.

While certainly not a candidate for the Elton John Award for Excessive Gaudiness amongst Darters, Johnny Darters, Etheostoma nigrum, have their own charm. Johnnys are often very common in Ohio streams, and have an interesting pattern of little W's along their sides.


The blue whale of the darter world, a Logperch, Percina caprodes. The average darter probably measures a scant two-three inches. These whoppers can tape out at seven inches.

Almost unbelievably showy in tones of emerald, offset with a band of brilliant orange at the base of the dorsal fin, is the Greenside Darter, Etheostoma blennioides.

One more of the Greenside Darter. This is a real ooh and aah fish, guaranteed to get a reaction from someone who has never seen one before. They have an interesting and scattered distribution, with some populations well removed from others.

One of Ohio's real rarities, a Bluebreast Darter, Etheostoma camurum. Bluebreasts are only known from seven states, and populations tend to small and localized. It's considered threatened in Ohio.


While not as overtly showy as some other darter species, like many critters, it's hard to do full justice to a Bluebreast Darter through the lens of a camera. The sides are stippled with bright orange spots, and the fins have strong yellow tones. Barely visible is the rich turquoise-blue throat patch.
Capturing and photographing aquatic species such as these darters is a real treat, and I've got more pics to come. I also hope to make one more field trip this spring, and apply some improvements in photographic technique for shooting fish.

Comments

My gosh. I am completely captivated by these gorgeous denziens of the creeks. I have painted the Rainbow Darter. I will have to do a couple of these fish too.

In painting the Rainbow Darter I noticed that the rocks in the lower left hand corner of your picture seem to have faces, sort of like a mask. Had you noticed this?? They seem quite alive too.
Justin said…
Great photos of wonderful organisms! How on earth did you take them?
Jared Mizanin said…
Jim, how do you capture, observe, and photograph these guys? I wouldn't mind studying/photographing a few of the local species in my area, but I know nearly nothing about fish.

Great post. Really enjoying these darters!
mangoverde said…
Jim, I too am curious how you took the photos. They are very nice.
Cheers,
Bill
Jim McCormac said…
Glad everyone likes the photos! I had a ball shooting them, and look forward to more efforts. I just described the techniques I used in the last post on darters.

Of course, the biggest challenge is knowing how to find the fish and where to look!

Jim
Jim McCormac said…
That's hilarious, and what a great observation, Lisa! After you mentioned the rock, I went back and looked, and yes, it looks amazingly like that Bluebreast Darter's face!

Jim

Popular posts from this blog

The Pinching Beetle, a rather brutish looking bug

The world is awash in beetles, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Few of them can match the intimidation factor of a Pinching Beetle, Lucanus capreolus, though. Those formidable looking mandibles look like they could slice off a finger.

Today was one of those coolly diverse days. I started off down in Fayette County, visiting the farm of a friend. He has restored about 25 acres of wetlands, and the response by the animal community has been nothing short of phenomenal. Blizzards of dragonflies of many species, amphibians galore, and nesting Blue-winged Teal, Pied-billed Grebe, and Sora. Among MANY other things. And all in a short two years. Add water and they will come.

Then, working my way home, I ducked into a Madison County cemetery that has a thriving population of Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels, and shot images of our native prairie dog. Then, I stopped at a spot along Little Darby Creek, waded on in, and procured some pretty nice shots of various stream bluets and dancers. …

Calliope Hummingbird in central Ohio!

A hatch-year male Calliope Hummingbird strikes a pose. Small but tough, the hummingbird was feeding actively yesterday in 39 F temperatures. It frequents feeders and gardens at a home in Delaware County, Ohio, about a half-hour north of Columbus.

Fortunately, the wayward hummer appeared at the home of Tania and Corey Perry. Tania is a birder, and knew right away that the hummingbird was something special. For a while, the identification was up in the air, which isn't surprising. The Calliope Hummingbird used to be placed in its own genus, Stellula, but has recently been submerged into the genus Selasphorus, which includes Allen's, Broad-tailed, and Rufous hummingbirds. The latter two, especially, are quite similar to the Calliope in subadult plumage. Rufous is the default "vagrant" hummingbird here, with dozens of records and birds turning up annually. There is but one Ohio record of Allen's Hummingbird, from late fall/early winter 2009. Ditto the Calliope Hummi…

Ballooning spiders

Fear not, ye arachnophobes. The subject of this entry is indeed about spiders, but the star of the show is about as cute as a spider can get. And you'll want to know what we're about to learn...

On my recent West Virginia foray, we were strolling down a seldom-used lane, when a bright yellow object caught our eye. It was a goldenrod crab spider, Misumena vatia, on top of a post! Not only that, she - it is a girl - was acting extraordinarily goofy. The spider would stilt up as high as she could go on her legs, weave back and forth, jig side to side, and otherwise engage in what appeared to be spider break-dancing.

Click the pic for expansion, and you can see two columns of silk issuing from her spinnerets. This is an important point, as we set about determining what this non-web-making spider is doing.


So fixated was our spider on her task that she even rejected what would seem to me to be a perfectly scrumptious meal. This little caterpillar climbed rapidly up the post and dire…