Gilbert & Meek, 1887
The Niangua darter (Etheostoma nianguae) is a species of fish in the Percidae family. It is endemic to the United States. It is found only in the Niangua River system of central Missouri. It is a federally listed threatened species of the United States.
The Niangua darter is a slender, silvery-brown fish with about ten vertical dark bars with brown centers alternating with orange undulating lines. There are two small black spots at the base of the tail fin. The color is accentuated in breeding males which have bright orange and green bars along the flank and orange and green bands on the dorsal and tail fins. The maximum size of this fish is about 13 cm (5 in) but a more common size is 7.3 cm (3 in).
Adult Niangua darters move from pools and slow runs to gravel riffles prior to spawning. The spawning season runs from mid-March to early June, but most of the breeding occurs in April. After spawning, Niangua darters return to the pools and stream runs.
Niangua darters can live four or more years, but few survive longer than two years. Young darters reach sexual maturity after one year. Niangua darters eat the nymphs of stoneflies and mayflies, and other aquatic insects.
Habitat and distribution
Niangua darters live in clear upland creeks and small to medium-sized rivers with slight to moderate currents. They require continuously flowing streams with silt-free gravel and rock bottoms. These streams typically drain hilly areas with chert or dolomite bedrock. Niangua darters are found most of the year in shallow pools, margins, and stream runs.
Niangua darters occur only in Missouri in counties in the Osage River basin, including: Osage, Maries, Miller, Camden, Hickory, Dallas, Benton, Greene, Webster, Cedar, Polk, and St. Clair. The Niangua darter was historically widespread and abundant in these rivers and streams.
Cause of decline
The Niangua darter has declined in numbers during the last 30 years, primarily due to habitat loss from reservoir construction, and stream channelization. Reservoirs isolated populations of Niangua darters and barred them from dispersing between suitable habitats. Land clearing and increased amounts of sediment and nutrients have also caused declines in Niangua darter populations. As a consequence of these factors, the IUCN has listed this fish as being "Vulnerable".
|Wikispecies has information related to: Etheostoma nianguae|
- NatureServe (2013). "Etheostoma nainguae". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 3.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- " Etheostoma nianguae Gilbert & Meek, 1887: Niangua darter". FishBase. Retrieved 2013-12-26.
- Mattingly, H. T. and D. L. Galat. (2002). Distributional patterns of the threatened Niangua Darter, Etheostoma nianguae, at three spatial scales, with implications for species conservation. Copeia 3 573-585.
- Mattingly, H. T., et al. (2003). Reproductive ecology and captive breeding of the threatened Niangua Darter Etheostoma nianguae. American Midland Naturalist 149(2) 375-83.
- Strange, R. M. and H. T. Mattingly. (1997). Threatened fishes of the world: Etheostoma nianguae Gilbert & Meek, 1887 (Percidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes 49(2) 196.