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Arkansas Darter

Photo by Bob Gress

Common Name: Arkansas Darter

Scientific Name: Etheostoma cragini

Federal Status: Candidate for listing

State Status: Threatened



Dark Blue = Designated critical habitat
Light Blue = Historical records


Comments: The Arkansas darter is restricted to the greater Arkansas River drainage. It is found in clear, spring-fed streams with aquatic vegetation. These shallow-water habitats without strong current are also good places to find watercress, a vegetative cover that provides the Arkansas darter hiding places from predators. The Arkansas darter will dive head first into the muddy substrate when frightened and remain hidden by the cloud of silt suspended in the water. Spawning occurs in early spring when the male is brightly colored with an orange-red belly. Although this darter will live 3 years, most of the spawning population is in its first year. Depletion of groundwater, which results in streams going dry, is one of the major causes for the decline of the Arkansas darter. It is found in Kansas in the Spring River basin in the southeast corner of the state and several tributaries of the Arkansas River in southcentral Kansas.