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greenside darter

greenside darter (Etheostoma blennioides) [female] Photo © Lance Merry

greenside darter (Etheostoma blennioides) [male] Photo © Lance Merry

Features and Behaviors

The snout of the greenside darter extends beyond its mouth. There is a nipple-like projection at the middle of upper lip. The upper lip is separated from the snout by a groove. The back and upper sides are yellow-green with six or seven dark crossbars and scattered orange spots. The lower sides have large "V"- or "W"-shaped blotches. A dark bar is present below the eye and in front of the eye. The dorsal fins are rust-colored at the base, and all fins, except the pelvic, have brown lines. The breeding male has bright green and blue-green coloration on his head, body and fins. The average length of the greenside darter is two and one-half to four and one-half inches. Its life span is about three years.

The greenside darter lives in streams and rivers. It spawns from March through April. Each breeding male defends a territory. The female attaches the eggs to filamentous algae. Eggs hatch in about 18 days. The greenside darter feeds during the day, eating insects and snails.

Illinois Range


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Percidae

Illinois Status: common, native