Etheostoma zonale - BIO210


      Etheostoma zonale inhabit a wide variety of rivers throughout the United States. From the Verdigris River in Kansas, northeast to the Alleghany River in New York, west to the Minnesota River in Minnesota, down to the the Tangipahoa River in Louisiana, this species can be found in numerous places around the U.S. (Tsai 1974). Locally, banded darters have been found in the southern portion of Wisconsin, in the Mississippi River or small streams (Becker 1983).

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      As a generally smaller fish species, the Etheostoma zonale have specific features of their habitat that suit their ecological niche. Although it is a freshwater fish, the species will not be found in lakes or ponds, but rather moderately small sized rivers, streams, and creeks (Tsai 1974). They prefer shallow areas of water with an average depth of less than 27 centimeters (Cordes 1980). Banded darters will usually be found in areas with rock bottoms, whether it is gravel, boulders or a mixture. A beneficial part of living in shallow water is that the vibrant green algae that grows on the rocks is used as a camouflage for the species, to protect them from fish-eating birds (Lyons 1999). They rarely inhabit areas with mud or sandy ground but can sometimes be found in unsettled water (Tsai 1974).

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