Male Reproduction
The coloration of the male Mud Darter is altered in the early spring months: early March- early May. The breeding color phase alters the anal and pelvic fins to darken into a deep blue-black, the head and the vertical bars are darkened and become more defined, and the side of the body pales to contrast the darkening of other areas. The increase in size of the male's testes and the slight enlargement of the genital papilla (broad-based, flattened, flaplike structure) increases the success of potential spawners; the larger the male and their respective testes the more successful they are in the competition for females (Cummings et. al. 1984).

Female Reproduction
Unlike the male, the female Mud Darters coloration remains essentially they same through the spawning months. The female ovulation triggers the genital papilla to enlarge and the girth increases as ova mature within. In October the ova average in size of 0.33 mm in diameter, by December the ovum are yellow in color and are an average of 0.73 mm in diameter. By late February to early May the large and mature ovum are an orange-to-translucent color, the average ova size is 1.06mm in diameter. The number of mature ova is approximately 70-350, where the largest females produce the greatest number of mature ova. The number of ova produced is proportional to the size of the female, where the largest ovaries are found in females with the highest body weight (Cummings et. al 1984).


Spawning occurs from early March to early May in waters less than two feet and diluted with leaves, sticks, and tree stumps. Males pursue females while exhibiting minimal aggressive behavior. The courtship displays by males involve repeatedly swimming around the female while erecting their dorsal fins to which the female returns the fin display. The male and female swim head to tail in a circular pattern until the female selects an egg deposition site on a vertical or elevated surface (sticks, leaves and sessile plants)  The male assumes the position over the female and curves his body into an S shape adjacent to the females. They vibrate rapidly for a few seconds while in this position and in sync swim vertically on the vegetation while the female releases 5-10 eggs that fall to the base or adhere to the vegetation, this repeated patter occurs every few minutes to a half hour (Cummings et. al. 1984).

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