Etheostoma zonale - BIO210


        The Etheostoma zonale species is a medium to large sized darter fish which is why its diet differs from other darter species. Immature aquatic insects are mainly what has been found inside the stomachs of the species, unlike the micro-crustaceans found in smaller darters (Cordes 1980). Specifically, the banded darter feeds greatly on the larvae of the Chironomus genus which has many different species (Becker 1983). The orders in which you can find many of the other insect larvae found in the diets of the species are: Diptera (flies), Ephemeroptera (mayflies), Coleoptera (beetles), and Trichoptera (caddis flies) (Becker 1983).


Caddis Fly Larva, New York DEC. <>.     


       Collectively, all darter species are considered "diurnal carnivores." This means that the activity level of when they feed is higher during the daytime and lower during the night. Since the species are quick, they have very accurate vision which helps them feed on moving prey (Cordes 1980). They also find their food by searching underneath rocks and pebbles with their snouts (Michigan DNR 2013). Some darters are particular in the insects they eat and they often leave potential food alone (Missouri Department of Conservation 2013).  

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