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Animals

Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

21 Fin-tastic Facts About The Bluebreast Darter For Kids

Read interesting bluebreast darter facts here.

The bluebreast darter (Etheostoma camurum), a freshwater ray-finned fish, is of the family Percidae and a darter of the Etheostomatinae subfamily. These species are small-sized darter fish that rarely reach more than three inches in length. The subfamily has five genera, Ammocrypta, Crystallaria, Etheostoma, Percina, and Nothonotus. Most of the Etheostoma species are restricted to the United States. Several species of this genus can produce pheromones to alert close-by fishes when there is an attack. This genus consists of 157 recognized fishes. These fishes have a compressed body shape. The bluebreast darter is usually found in olive green or orange color with dark red spots. The scientific name Etheostoma means 'strain mouth,' likely referring to their smallmouth, and camurum means 'blunt-headed.' These fishes determine the quality of the river in their natural habitat. They are vulnerable to any changes in their habitat. The greatest threat they face is from human beings. Even though they are declared as Least Concern species, their population continues to decline.

Read on to learn more and check out some interesting Bonito fish facts and rainbow trout facts on Kidadl.

Bluebreast Darter Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a bluebreast darter?

The bluebreast darter (Etheostoma camurum) is a darter of the Etheostomatinae subfamily and a freshwater ray-finned fish. The bluebreast darter behavior is territorial during the spawning season. Other species of darters include snail darter and trispot darter.

What class of animal does a bluebreast darter belong to?

The bluebreast darter (Etheostoma camurum) belongs to the Actinopteriigy class of animals.

How many bluebreast darters are there in the world?

The exact number of the bluebreast darter (Etheostoma camurum) population is not known.

Where does a bluebreast darter live?

The bluebreast darter (Etheostoma camurum) habitat range is restricted to the eastern United States. Their population range extends mostly in the Eastern highlands from Tennessee to New York and West Virginia to Illinois. This also covers North Carolina and the Ohio rivers. The historical distribution of their population is in the streams of the Alleghany river basin, Ohio river drainage, Tennesse river basin, and Wabash river basin. Their populations have been seen in the Alabama-Tennessee state line in the Elk River system. Fewer populations of these darter species were first found in Alabama in 1993. These sample populations from Alabama also had a new species, Noturus eleutherus (mountain madtom). They also occupy Tennessee and Cumberland river drainage.

What is a bluebreast darter's habitat?

The bluebreast darter (Etheostoma camurum) range of their habitat depends on the velocity of the streams and the quality of the river. The location of these habitats is in the river and stream with riffles and eddies behind boulders in medium to large streams with a gravel bottom. They occur in the benthopelagic region around the depths between 3.9-11.8 in (10-30 cm).

Who do bluebreast darters live with?

The bluebreast darter (Etheostoma camurum) lives in schools.

How long does a bluebreast darter live?

The life span of the bluebreast darter (Etheostoma camurum) is around three years.

How do they reproduce?

The breeding season for the bluebreast darter (Etheostoma camurum) occurs between mid-May and June as per its life history. The juveniles become sexually mature within the first year of their birth, and this is the same for all the species of this genus. Their spawning region has a temperature range of around 50-75 F (10-24 C). When the males become territorial and start seeking out riffles and eddies in headstreams, the spawning starts. Then the females follow and choose their mate and location for breeding. The females perform a ritual that involves an array of erratic darts, and the males later mimic the same ritual. After this, the female buries herself in the gravel shoal that is almost at the same level as the bottom streambed. The male then reaches her from the top while producing vibrations that last at least 10 seconds. This behavior occurs around three times during the spawning event. The female lays around 100 eggs in areas around riffles and large rocks. However, the clutch size of these species is not clear, but the fantail darter (E. flabellare), the sister species clutch range is between 33-96 individuals. The males then stay behind and incubate the eggs for seven to 10 days. The breeding cycle is impacted by the anthropogenic and environmental changes in the velocity of the river. Sometimes the stormwater runoff can increase the turbidity of the water, so the eggs frequently detach from the male's care and do not bury into the gravel streambed.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the medium to large-sized bluebreast darter (Etheostoma camurum) is Least Concern. However, New York's bluebreast darter distribution status might rise to endangered as the populations are facing declination. Chemical effects like roadway runoff and agricultural drainage runoff, and impoundments are few threats to their populations. The populations are also vulnerable to anthropogenic and environmental pressures. Due to this, they are now only found in streams instead of large river areas.

Bluebreast Darter Fun Facts

What do bluebreast darters look like?

The darter's snout is round and blunt. Their body color is olive green with light-colored broadband that extends next to the dark fringe anal and second dorsal fins and reaches to the caudal fin. The caudal, anal, and second dorsal fins have a dark edge. The males get colorful in the breeding season and have orange-tinted dorsal fins with red spots along their sides and a bright blue breast which gave them their name. Their bright blue breast is not bridged by their gill covers. They prefer clean, flowing, freshwater river regions.

The bluebreast darter is a small size freshwater fish.

How cute are they?

The blue breast darters are a colorful species. However, they are not considered cute.

How do they communicate?

The blue breast darters communicate with smell, sound, chemical cues, and movement.

How big is a bluebreast darter?

The blue breast darters are around 1.4-2.2 in (35-55 cm) in length.

How fast can a bluebreast darter swim?

The exact swimming speed of the bluebreast darter is not available.

How much does a bluebreast darter weigh?

The exact weight of this small fish is unknown.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There is no specific name given to the male and female bluebreast darter fishes.

What would you call a baby bluebreast darter?

There is no specific name given to the baby bluebreast darter. They are usually referred to as juveniles.

What do they eat?

These fish eat small larvae and aquatic insects.

Are they dangerous?

No, these species are not dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, darters make a good pet. They do well in aquariums with hiding places made of rock piles and sand as they are normally around rocky riffles in freshwater rivers.

Did you know...

The distribution of seven darter species in Missouri are endangered.

The Johnny darters have scaleless napes, breasts, and preopercles (bone present at the start of their cheek). These female species weigh 0.003 lb (1.6 g) and males weigh 0.001 lb (0.6 g). These fishes usually occupy Minnesota and Ohio rivers.

The bluebreast darter has been listed by the NatureServe as 'critically imperiled' in New York, Alabama, Illinois, and Indiana; 'apparently secure' in Kentucky and Tennessee; 'imperiled' in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia; and 'vulnerable' in West Virginia.

At one point in history, these species were rarely found in the Ohio River. By improving the quality of water and life in the Ohio River drainage, their population is growing.

The endangered bluemask darter, during the first year of their life, has fast growth, but they do not reach sexual maturity until they are two years old.

The bluebreast is linked to the breeding of the endangered species, tan riffleshell. Records show that the riffleshell larvae attach themselves to the bluebreast darter.

What's unique about the bluebreast darter?

The bluebreast darters can be differentiated by their deep caudal peduncle, the horizontal band present at the two-third part of their body, a blunt snout, and a compressed body.

What survival mechanisms do bluebreast darters have?

Predators of these species are not yet recorded. However, their sister species E. caeruleum (rainbow darter), is a prey to large freshwater fish like stonecats (Noturus flavus), burbots (Lota lota), and smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu). The predation on this species is relatively low. They hide from larger fish in the rivers in eddies and riffles behind boulders, which also prevents any pelagic fish from hunting them. Large rocks and boulders also protect them.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our rainbow cichlid facts and Arctic char facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable bluebreast darter coloring pages.

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