Coldwater Darter

Coldwater Darter

Etheostoma ditrema

About This Animal

SIZE: 2.4 inches

RANGE: In the middle and upper Coosa River system. Coldwater Darters are found in only 7 creeks and 20 springs throughout GA, TN and AL

HABITAT: Limestone springs and spring runs with aquatic vegetation, typically in areas of no or slow current over mud and silt. Also occurs in small vegetated streams with slow to fast current over bedrock, gravel, and cobble.

DIET: Insects and crustaceans

LIFESPAN: Less than 2 years

On Exhibit: No

About this animal: Male Coldwater Darters have bright breeding colors of orange, red, and blue.  There are two separate species currently within Coldwater Darters, a spring form in the upper Coosa River and a stream form in the middle Coosa River system.  Groundwater keeps temperatures cooler in springs, therefore Coldwater Darters have an extended breeding season from March to September, whereas most darters finish spawning by early June.

Threats: Small population, small range, fragmentation, habitat loss, pollution

Our Impact: Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute (TNACI) is working with partners at Arkansas State University and the University of Alabama to study the Coldwater Darter and its genetic variation between springs.

Conservation Status: Endangered.  Protected in Alabama and considered critically imperiled, endangered in Georgia, and threatened in Tennessee.