Redline Darter

Etheostoma rufilineatum

About This Animal

SIZE: 3.5 inches

RANGE: Southeastern United States Cumberland and Tennessee River drainages

HABITAT: Clear, fast, rocky riffles of creeks, small rivers and streams

DIET: Fly larvae and water mites

ON EXHIBIT:  Tennessee River Gallery in River Journey

Members of the perch family, redline darters are distinguished from other species of darters by their horizontal bars and orange and white spots, giving them an almost plaid appearance.  Redline darters bury their eggs in the substrate.  Rainbow darters and redline darters are the most abundant darter species in the Tennessee River drainage in Alabama.

All darters lack swim bladders, which give most fish the ability to control their buoyancy.  Darters rest on the bottoms of streams and will jump or dart upwards when they need to gain buoyancy for swimming or eating. They are very strong swimmers and maneuver with or against strong current with ease.

Native fishes are affected by runoff from agriculture and roadways.  To reduce the chances of contaminants entering their habitat, always recycle your oil and leave stream banks planted to reduce erosion.