Animal Encounters

Fun Animal Encounters

From a hairy tarantula to a talking African gray parrot, you never know what you’ll bump into in Ranger Rick's Backyard Safari at the Tennessee Aquarium!


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Tangerine Darter

Percina aurantiaca

ON EXHIBIT:  Tennesse River Gallery in River Journey

Tangerine Darter


This is one of Tennessee's largest darters. Because of their large size and beautiful coloration, they are perfect animals to observe by snorkeling. They prefer fast moving, very cold water. Unlike most other darters this species spends most of its time swimming in the water column and not on the bottom.

The tangerine darter is considered a species of special concern throughout its range.  In Tennessee it is listed as in need of management and in Georgia it is listed as threatened. For this reason, fish that are on display at the Tennessee Aquarium of this species come from North Carolina where the populations are very strong or from captive breeders.

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About This Animal

SIZE: 7.1 in (18 cm)

RANGE: Upper Tennessee River drainage in Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia

HABITAT: Clear, fairly deep, rocky pools

DIET:  Aquatic insects