Banded Darter
  • Side view adult.
  • Side view adult (pregnant female).
  • Side view adult.
  • Top view adult.
  • Bottom view adult (breeding male).
  • Head-on view adult.
  • Close-up flank.
  • Close-up head.
  • Close-up mouth/snout (breeding male).
  • Close-up tail.
  • Close-up dorsal fin (pregnant female).
  • Close-up anal fin (breeding male).
  • Close-up pectoral fin.
  • Close-up pelvic fin (pregnant female).
  • Side view: Note 8-13 blotches/bars on flank (not on belly), and 41-53 pored lateral line scales.
  • Close-up of head region: Note subterminal mouth, blunt snout, and frenum. The cheeks are scaled. The pectoral fin has 13-15 pectoral rays.
  • Close-up of dorsal fin: Note 1st dorsal lobe with 10-12 spines, 2nd dorsal lobe with 11-12 rays; there is a slight gap between the lobes.
  • Close-up anal fin of male: Note green anal fin with 2 spines and 7-10 rays.
  • Bottom view of male: Note broadly attached opercles, green throat, and normal-sized pelvic fins.
  • Side view male: Note 8-13 green vertical bars encircling the body.
  • Anal fin of breeding male: Note the green color..
  • Side view of breeding male: Males develop bright green vertical bars interspersed with yellow to tan, a green anal fin and a green throat.
  • Side view of 4 males: Males show bright green vertical bars interspersed with yellow to tan, a green anal fin and a green throat.
  • Side view of breeding male: Males show bright green vertical bars interspersed with yellow to tan, a green anal fin and a green throat.
  • Side view of breeding male: They develop bright green vertical bars on the flank interspersed with yellow or tan, a green anal fin and a green throat.
  • Bottom view of breeding male: Note the green throat.
  • Dorsal fin of breeding male: Note that the lower half is red with a green margin.
  • Males develop bright green vertical bars on flanks interspersed with yellow or tan; anal fin and throat turn reen as well.
  • Head of a breeding male: Note the green throat and the scaled cheek.
DescriptionSimilar Species
Family
Perches (Percidae)
Body
Mouth and snout: The mouth is subterminal, horizontal, and shows small teeth on jaws. There are no barbels. Body pattern: The body color on the back is brown or olive with 6-7 dark saddles or blotches. The sides are olive with 8-13 dark brown or greenish blotches or regular vertical bars. The belly is cream. First dorsal, second dorsal, caudal, and pectoral fins are mottled or have wavy bands, anal and pelivc fins are lightly pigmented. The scales are ctenoid in shape with 41-53 lateral scales. The body is fusiform to cylindrical and slightly elongated, slightly laterally compressed anteriorly and round to oval in cross section. It is typically 35-50 mm (1.5-2 in) TL; maximum about 65 mm (2.5 in).
Fins
The tail is rounded or square. The dorsal fin has 2 lobes, slightly connected or separated, the first with 10-12 (usually 11) spines and the second with 11-12 (usually 12) rays. Pelvic fins are thoracic. Adipose fin is absent. The anal fin has 2 spines and 7-10 (usually 8) rays.
Distinguishing Characteristics
The banded darter can be distinguished by its color pattern and its lack of a modified scale between the pelvic fins. See also similar species information.
Breeding Adults
Males have a green cast and well-developed regular bright green vertical bars extending on to the back and belly (often encircling body). The head is dark olive above and green below (including throat). The belly green as well. The first dorsal fin shows an orange-red base and green marginal band. The second dorsal and caudal fins are dusky with green at base and edges. Anal and pelvic fins are green, pectoral fins clear to slightly green.
Juveniles
Juveniles are similar to adults.
Hybrids
None known from Wisconsin.
Compare Similar Species
Dorsal Spine/Rays
Darter, Banded10-12/11-12
Darter, Fantail7-8/13-14
Darter, Iowa8-12/10-12
Darter, Least5-7/9/10
Darter, Mud10-12/10-14
Darter, Orangethroat8-12/11-15
Darter, Rainbow8-13/10-15
Anal Rays
Darter, Banded7-10
Darter, Fantail7-8
Darter, Iowa7-9
Darter, Least5-6
Darter, Mud8-9
Darter, Orangethroat4-8
Darter, Rainbow6-8
Lateral Scales
Darter, Banded41-53, all pored
Darter, Fantail41-53, 27-35 pored
Darter, Iowa55-65, 18-28 pored
Darter, Least32-38, 0-7 pored
Darter, Mud45-50, 25-43 pored
Darter, Orangethroat42-50, 10-38 pored
Darter, Rainbow37-49, 20-34 pored
Body Pigment Pattern
Darter, Banded6-7 saddles on back; 8-13 blotches or vertical bars not extending onto back or belly except in males where bright green bars encircle body; blotch at base of tail
Darter, Fantail9-13 faint saddles on back; 9-13 irregular vertical bars extending onto back but not belly, overlain with many thin horizontal stripes; no spots at base of tail
Darter, IowaAbout 8 saddles on back; dark mottling often with 9-12 blotches/vertical bars not extending onto back or belly; blotch at base of tail
Darter, Least6-9 blotches on back; mottled, with 7-12 small irregular blotches; blotch at base of tail
Darter, Mud8-11 saddles on back; 9-12 blotches or irregular vertical bars, often partly fused along lateral line, encircling c. peduncle; 3 vertical spots at tail base
Darter, Orangethroat3-11 saddles on back; about 8 blotches or irregular dark vertical bars not extending onto back or belly, faint thin horizontal stripes on upper sides; blotch at base of tail
Darter, Rainbow3-11 saddles on back; 8-13 regular vertical bars extending onto back but not belly, encircling caudal peduncle; no spots at base of tail
Other Characteristics
Darter, BandedGill membranes broadly attached, usually 13-15 pectoral rays; breeding males with green throat and anal fin; cheek scaled
Darter, FantailGill membranes broadly attached; 12-13 pectoral rays; breeding males with black throat and anal fin; cheek unscaled
Darter, IowaGill membranes narrowly attached; 12-14 pectoral rays; breeding males with cream throat; greenish-blue anal fin; cheek scaled
Darter, LeastGill membranes narrowly attached; usually 10 pectoral rays; breeding males with gray throat, brick-red anal fin; cheek scaled
Darter, MudGill membranes narrowly attached; usually 13-14 pectoral rays; breeding males with blue-gray throat, blue anal fin; cheek scaled
Darter, OrangethroatGill membranes narrowly attached, usually ≤12 pectoral rays; breeding males with orange throat, blue anal fin; cheek with a few scales
Darter, RainbowGill membranes narrowly attaches; usually 13 pectoral rays; breeding males with blue-black throat, orange anal fin; cheek largely unscaled
Similarity Index
Darter, BandedN/A
Darter, FantailModerately similar
Darter, IowaModerately similar
Darter, LeastModerately similar
Darter, MudVery similar
Darter, OrangethroatVery similar
Darter, RainbowVery similar
Comments
Darter, OrangethroatNot known from WI, but occurs in Illinois very close to the border, so conceivable as a stray
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