Black-sided Darter (Percina maculata)

(State-listed as Threatened)


Black sided darterDescription: A small, streamlined fish approximately 3.5 inches in length. Its body is a yellowish-olive color with seven or eight horizontal blotches running along each side. It also has a dark spot at the base of its tail fin. It feeds on small aquatic invertebrates.

Habitat: The Black-sided Darter is found in clear, gravel-bottom, perennial streams in eastern Oklahoma along the state line with Arkansas.

Current and Historic Distribution: The Black-sided Darter is found in Lee Creek, and some of the tributary streams to the Poteau and Mountain Fork rivers. This species tends to occur in low densities in Oklahoma, which is at the southwestern edge of its geographic range, so it is difficult to locate during stream surveys and its current and historic ranges are poorly known. Historic records exist for the Black-sided Darter in Pushmataha and McCurtain counties. In addition to its range in Oklahoma, it is widespread in the Mississippi River watershed and can be found in many states north and east of Oklahoma.

Reasons for Decline: Alteration of stream habitat through the loss of riparian vegetation and increased amounts of silt and sediment probably played a large role in its decline. As with many stream fish, reservoir construction may negatively affect this species by isolating populations above and below dams.


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