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Etheostoma microperca

(least darter)


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Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Chinese:


Common Names in Danish:

Lille smutte

Common Names in English:

least darter

Common Names in German:


Common Names in Mandarin Chinese:

小鏢鱸, 小镖鲈


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Physical Description

Species Etheostoma microperca

Body: Mouth and snout: Mouth terminal, oblique , small teeth on jaws . No barbels . Body patterning, color, and scales : Back dark olive or brown with faint blotches. Sides mottled with 7-12 dark blotches. Belly cream. First dorsal mottled, often with dark band at margin ; second dorsal and caudal with several rows of spots or horizontal bands; other fins lightly pigmented . 32-38 ctenoid lateral scales. Body shape and size: Body fusiform to cylindrical and slightly elongated; slightly laterally compressed anteriorly; round to oval in cross section . Typically 25-35 mm (1-1.5 in) TL ; maximum about 45 mm (1.8 in).

Fins: Tail, dorsal and other fins: Rounded or square tail. Dorsal fin with 2 lobes , slightly separated, the first with 5-7 (usually 6) spines and the second with 9-10 rays. Pelvic fins thoracic . Adipse fin absent. Anal fin with 1 or 2 spines and 5-6 (usually 6) rays.

Distinguishing characteristics: The least darter can be distinguished by its combination of 38 or fewer lateral-line scales with only 0-7 pored, 5-6 anal rays, its lack of a modified scale between the pelvic fins, and its pigment/color pattern . See also similar species information.

Breeding adults : Males with enlarged pelvic fins, orange-red pelvic and anal fins, red spots on membranes of first dorsal fin, and small tubercles on pelvic and anal fins.

Juveniles : Similar to adults.


Males are commonly 3 cm (Total Length) in length when caught/marketed, but may be as large as 4 cm (Total Length).


Occurs in quiet, vegetated lakes , headwaters , creeks and small rivers . Usually found over mud and sand .

Biome: Marine .


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Etheostoma (Microperca) microperca Jordan & Gilbert 1887 • Etheostoma microperca Jordan & Gilbert, 1888


Name Status: Accepted Name .

Last scrutiny: Data last modified by FishBase 08-Jun-1994

Similar Species

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Fish Name Body Depth/SL Frenum Snout Stripe Anal Spines/Rays Dorsal Spines/Rays Lateral Scales Similarity Index Bluntnose Darter 14-18% Absent Continuous over snout 1/7-9 8-9/9-11, lobes separate 52-58,      Very similar Crystal Darter 11-13% Present Continuous over snout 1/15-16 14/14-16, lobes close 9-95, all pored Very similar Iowa Darter 14-18% Present Gap at tip of snout 2/7-9 8-12/10-12, lobes separate 55-65,      Very similar Johnny Darter 14-18% Absent Gap at tip of snout 1/7-9 7-9/11-14, lobes close 37-50, all pored Very similar Least Darter 16-20% Present Continuous or gap at tip 1-2/5-6 5-7/9-10, lobes close 32-38, 0-7 pored N/A Western Sand Darter 11-13% Absent Absent or gap at tip 1/9-12 10-12/9-12, lobes far apart 69-81, all pored Very similar

Members of the genus Etheostoma

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 202 species and subspecies in this genus. Here are just 100 of them:

E. acuticeps (Sharphead Darter) · E. akatulo (Bluemask Darter) · E. aquali (Coppercheek Darter) · E. artesiae (Redspot Darter) · E. asprigene (Mud Darter) · E. atripinne (Cumberland Snubnose Darter) · E. australe (Dardo De Conchos) · E. baileyi (Emerald Clingfish) · E. barbouri (Teardrop Butterflyfish) · E. barrenense (Splendid Darter) · E. basilare (Corrugated Darter) · E. bellator (Warrior Darter) · E. bellum (Orangefin Characin) · E. bison (Buffalo Darter) · E. blennioides (Greenside Darter) · E. blennioides blennioides (Greenside Darter) · E. blennioides gutselli (Tuckasegee Darter) · E. blennioides newmani (Greenside Darter) · E. blennioides pholidotum (Greenside Darter) · E. blennius (Blenny Darter) · E. blennius blennius (Blenny Darter) · E. boschungi (Slackwater Darter) · E. brevirostrum (Holiday Darter) · E. burri (Brook Darter) · E. caerulea (Rainbow Darter) · E. caeruleum (Rainbow Darter) · E. caeruleum caeruleum (Rainbow Darter) · E. camurum (Bluebreast Darter) · E. cervus (Chickasaw Darter) · E. chermocki (Vermilion Darter) · E. chienense (Relict Darter) · E. chlorobranchium (Greenfin Darter?names of Fishes 133) · E. chlorosoma (Bluntnose Darter) · E. chlorosomum (Bluntnose Darter) · E. chuckwachatte (Lipstick Darter) · E. cinerea (Ashy Darter) · E. cinereum (Ashy Darter) · E. collettei (Creole Darter) · E. collis (Carolina Darter) · E. colorosum (Coastal Darter) · E. coosae (Coosa Darter) · E. corona (Crown Darter) · E. cragini (Arkansas Darter) · E. crossopterum (Fringe-Lipped Worm Eel) · E. cymatotaenia (Bluestripe Darter) · E. davisoni (Choctawhatchee Darter) · E. denoncourti (Golden Darter) · E. denoncourtivan (Golden Darter) · E. derivativum (Stone Darter) · E. ditrema (Coldwater Darter) · E. douglasi (Tuskaloosa Darter) · E. duryi (Blackside Snubnose Darter) · E. edwini (Brown Darter) · E. erythrozonum (Meramec Saddled Darter) · E. etheostoma (Scaly Goby) · E. etnieri (Cherry Darter) · E. etowahae (Etowah Darter) · E. euzonum (Arkansas Saddled Darter) · E. euzonum erizonum (Current Saddled Darter) · E. euzonum euzonum (Arkansas Saddled Darter) · E. exile (Yellowbelly) · E. flabellare (Fantail Darter) · E. flabellare flabellare (Fantail Darter) · E. flabellaris (Fantail Darter) · E. flavum (Saffron Darter) · E. fonticola (Fountain Darter) · E. forbesi (Barrens Darter) · E. fragi (Strawberry Darter) · E. fricksia (Savannah Darter) · E. fricksium (Savannah Darter) · E. fusiforme (Swamp Darter) · E. fusiforme barratti (Swamp Darter) · E. fusiforme fusiforme (Swamp Darter) · E. gracile (Slough Darter) · E. grahami (Rio De La Plata Onesided Livebearer) · E. gutselli (Tuckasegee Darter) · E. histrio (Harlequin Darter?134 Names of Fishes) · E. hopkinsi (Christmas Darter) · E. hopkinsi binotatum (Christmas Darter) · E. hopkinsi hopkinsi (Christmas Darter) · E. inscriptum (Turquiose Cichlid) · E. jessiae (Blueside Darter) · E. jordani (Greenbreast Darter) · E. juliae (Yoke Darter) · E. kanawhae (Kanawha Darter) · E. kantuckeense (Highfinned Parrotfish) · E. kennicotti (Stripetail Darter) · E. lachneri (Tombigbee Darter) · E. lawrencei (Headwater Darter) · E. lemniscatum (Tuxedo Darter) · E. lepidum (Greenstripe Rockfish) · E. longimana (Longfin Darter) · E. longimanum (Longfin Darter) · E. lugoi (Tufa Darter) · E. luteovinctum (Redband Darter) · E. luteovinctumin (Redband Darter) · E. lynceum (Brighteye Darter) · E. macrocephalum (Longhead Darter) · E. maculata (Spotted Darter) · E. maculatum (Spotted Darter)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal March 02, 2008:


Last Revised: 2015-02-06