Life history of the gulf darter, Etheostoma swaini (Pisces: Percidae)

  • David L. Ruple
  • Robert H. McMichaelJr.
  • John A. Baker
Part of the Developments in environmental biology of fishes book series (DEBF, volume 4)


Etheostoma swaini, the gulf darter, was collected from the Black Creek drainage in southern Mississippi (February 1978 — April 1979). The gulf darter generally inhabits small- to moderate-size creeks and occurs over a sand or sandy mud bottom, often in association with aquatic vegetation or a layer of organic debris. Larval dipterans were the most important food items, both numerically and volumetrically. Chironomids were found in 71-100% of the stomachs in all except the unusual March 16 collection. The length frequency distribution and the scale annuli analysis indicated there were three year-classes present in the population at any one time. Fifty-one percent of the specimens taken were less than 12 months old. During the mid- February to late March spawning season gulf darters were most often collected over clean gravel or gravel- sand substrates. Laboratory observations suggest that the female burrows into the gravel where the demersal, adhesive eggs are deposited. Female gulf darters significantly outnumbered males at a ratio of 59:41.


Ecology Habitat Feeding Age Growth Reproduction Mississippi 


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Copyright information

© Dr W. Junk Publishers, The Hague 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • David L. Ruple
    • 1
  • Robert H. McMichaelJr.
    • 2
  • John A. Baker
    • 3
  1. 1.Gulf Coast Research LaboratoryOcean SpringsUSA
  2. 2.Department of Natural ResourcesMarine Research LaboratorySt. PetersburgUSA
  3. 3.Environmental LaboratoryU.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment StationVicksburgUSA

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