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Rich Staffen
Conservation Biologist
608-266-4340

Bluntnose Darter (Etheostoma chlorosoma)


Overview

Overview

Bluntnose Darter (Etheostoma chlorosoma), a fish listed as Endangered in Wisconsin, prefers sluggish currents with sparse to moderate vegetation. They are found in the oxbows, ponds, sloughs and pools of the Mississippi River over mud, clay, mixed sand and mud. Spawning occurs from mid-May through mid-June when water temperatures range from 10.0 to 15.6 degrees Celsius.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Bluntnose Darter (Etheostoma chlorosoma). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.


Documented locations of Etheostoma chlorosoma in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusEND
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS1
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY
WWAP SGCN

Species guidance


Note: a species guidance document is not available at this time. Information below was compiled from publication ER-091.

Identification: Bluntly rounded snout. Pale yellow or whitish overall with five or six small brown saddles, numerous brown flecks and small patches of pigment scattered over the sides. Adult length: 1.5-2 inches (38-46mm).

Habitat: Quiet waters of oxbows, ponds, sloughs, creeks, pools and sluggish currents.

State Distribution: Found only in the Mississippi River and closely adjacent waters. This is the northern limit of their range. A map outlining Pre-1977 and 1997 to Present Distribution is available.

Phenology: They lay eggs on plants or plant debris in early May. Bluntnose darters search for chironomid and blackfly larvae, cyclops and daphnia by darting around from one perching site to another among the organic debris in sand, mud or clay along the benthic (bottom) surface.

Diet: Bluntnose darters search for chironomid and blackfly larvae, cyclops and daphnia by darting around from one perching site to another among the organic debris in sand, mud or clay along the benthic (bottom) surface.

Management Guidelines: Despite their wide ecological tolerances, bluntnose are perhaps the rarest of Wisconsin's fish. Their decline is caused by siltation related to agricultural runoff and elimination of creek populations during drought periods when streams dry up.

Photos/Video

Photos


Bluntnose Darter

The sides show W, X, and Y markings; there are 52-58 lateral line scales with less then 25 of them being pored.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Bluntnose Darter

Head-on view: Notice that there is a continuous stripe around the snout without a gap at the tip; no frenum.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Bluntnose Darter

The flanks are light colored showing "X", "Y", and "W" shaped blotches; there are 52-58 lateral line scales.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Bluntnose Darter

Side view of male breeder: Males are darker and develop a submarginal light band on their 1st dorsal lobe.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Bluntnose Darter

Head of breeding male: Males are darker and develop a submarginal light band on their 1st dorsal lobe.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Bluntnose Darter

The 1st dorsal lobe has 8-9 spines, the 2nd lobe has 9-11 rays; there is a gap between the lobes.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Bluntnose Darter

Close-up anal fin: Notice that the anal fin has 1 spine and 7-9 rays.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Bluntnose Darter

The mouth is terminal to slightly subterminal, no frenum.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Bluntnose Darter

Close-up flank of breeding male.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Bluntnose Darter

Close-up mouth and snout.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Bluntnose Darter

Close-up pectoral fin.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Bluntnose Darter

Close-up dorsal fin.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Bluntnose Darter

Close-up pelvic fin.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Bluntnose Darter

Head-on view adult.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Bluntnose Darter

Close-up anal fin.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Bluntnose Darter

Bottom view adult.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Bluntnose Darter

Side view adult.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Bluntnose Darter

Side view adult.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Bluntnose Darter

Side view adult.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Bluntnose Darter

Top view adult.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Bluntnose Darter

Close-up tail.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

Bluntnose Darter

Close-up head.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.


Wildlife Action Plan

Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

Natural community (habitat) associations

The table below lists the natural communities that are associated with Bluntnose Darter. Only natural communities for which Bluntnose Darter is "high" (score=3) or "moderate" (score=2) associated are shown. See the key to association scores for complete definitions. Please see the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.

Natural community Score
Warmwater rivers 3

Ecological landscape associations

The table below lists the ecological landscape association scores for Bluntnose Darter. The scores correspond to the map (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None). For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

This map shows the probability of Bluntnose Darter occurring in each of Wisconsin's Ecological Landscapes.  Actual scores can be found in the table to the left.




Ecological landscape score
Western Coulee and Ridges 3

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Landscape-Community combinations of highest ecological priority*

Ecological priorities are the combinations of natural communities and ecological landscapes that provide Wisconsin's best opportunities to conserve important habitats for a given Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The 10 highest scoring combinations are considered ecological priorities and are listed below. More than 10 combinations are listed if multiple combinations tied for 10th place. For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

Ecological LandscapeCommunity
Western Coulee and Ridges Warmwater rivers

* Ecological priority score is a relative measure that is not meant for comparison between species. This score does not consider socio-economical factors that may dictate protection and/or management priorities differently than those determined solely by ecological analysis. Further, a low ecological priority score does not imply that management or preservation should not occur on a site if there are important reasons for doing so locally.

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Issues/threats and conservation actions

Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.

Threats/issues and conservations actions for rare animals

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Last revised: Thursday, May 04, 2017