Johnny Darters' normal habitat is often slow moving streams and small lakes.  When there are darters in the streams, often the water quality is good.  This is because many insects like to live where there is clean water and a place for their habitat to grow using the water, i.e. forest. Since Darters prey on many insects, such as water fleas, this is often where they choose to live. 

In addition to the insects the Etheostoma nigrum   eats many larvae including caddisfly, mayfly, or midge larvae.  They also tend to eat small copepods as a part of their diet.  Darters tend to be bottom dwellers which is an explanation for why they eat various insect larvae.

The Etheostoma nigrum does not have a host fish it feeds off of.  It also does not provide as a host for others. Predators are the only animals that get nutritional value from the darter.  It is often eaten by bass, walleye, or other large fish that occupy the same habitat they live in.  There is more information on this in the Interactions section of this website.

Etheostoma nigrum are a great species to study because of the amount of other species that live in the same habitat.  "Because of the number of co-occurring species they represent an excellent laboratory of adaptation and competition" (Martin). Other studies show the adaptations of the different species throughout the country.  Which brings us back to how the Johnny Darter can live in a variety of environments across the country, from the warm south, to the very brisk Wisconsin winters.


This website called BioKids is also a great source of information.  Although it may not be a "scholarly" journal, it does give some great information and background on a variety of animals.  It includes animal tracks, field data, and much more.  Feel free to take a look!