Fantail Darter: Etheostoma flabellare


Kingdom Animalia
        Phylum Chordata
                Class Actinopterygii
                        Order Perciformes
                                Family Percidae
                                        Genus Etheostoma
                                                Species Etheostoma flabellare   (Meyers, P., R. Espinosa, C. S. Parr, T. Jones, G. S. Hammond, and T. A. Dewey 2013        

So why is the fantail darter classified as such?

Kingdom Animalia: There are several characteristics that an organism must possess to be in the kingdom animalia. They must be multicellular and be heterotrophic, which means they only digest organic food. Also their cells do not have a cell wall like plant cells do (Meyers, Phil. "Animalia"). 

Phylum Chordata: All members of the phylum chordata have a notochord during at least one point of their development with a nerve cord. They also have a segmented, bilaterally symmetric body with three skin layers and a coelom filled by a complete digestive system. Chordates have hearts with closed circulatory system too (Meyers, Phil. "Chordata").

Class Actinopterygii: This class is also known as the ray- finned fish class. Their fins are comprised of bony like ray structures that support the skin. They also have a swim bladder that allows them to control their bouyancy as they swim up and down. Another feature they have is a gill cover. This gill cover lets them breath underwater without moving or having to have water running over their gills. Instead the gill cover itself will pump water to flow over the gills providing oxygen (Ray-finned 2013). 

Order Perciformes: This is the largest order of not only fish but also invertebrates. Most organisms in this order are marine shore fishes, while some occur only in freshwater, or in freshwater for at least part of their lives. The shape of organisms in this order varies from long and thin to short and round. Most have spines on the front part of the dorsal and anal fins. The pelvic fin is made up of one spine and five supporting rods. Organisms in this order tend to have rough scales (Basses Perches and Relatives 2013).

Family Percidae: Organisms in this family are members of the Perch family. Their fins have both soft rays and stiff spines. The dorsal fin is divided into five sections; the front is spiny while the rear is soft. Organisms in in this family have two or fewer anal fins with two spines and lack an adipose fin (Kraft, C.E., D.M. Carlson., and M. Carlson. 2006).

Genus Etheostoma: This is a very diverse genus, containing more than 150 species. The species in this genus are commonly known as "darters." They are mostly found in the United States, but can be located in Canada and Mexico as well (Smith, R. J. F. 1992).


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