Friday, October 29, 2010

The Texas Orange Throat Darter

I recently set up a freshwater aquarium at the house so the grand kids and I could stock it with native Texas fish from the lakes, rivers, creeks and streams that we visit here in Central Texas. I thought it would be a good teaching method for the grand kids. It has however, become an educational obsession for me instead. I have acquired two books which I highly recommend to anyone that fishes in Texas or wants to learn about the many species of fish that occupy the waters of this State. The first is a pocket guide titled “Freshwater Fish of Texas Field Guide”; the second is a book titled “Freshwater Fishes of Texas”. The field guide I carry in my pocket and the other I use as my desk reference. You may purchase either at the following links.

Through my fish sampling of a few local creeks and rivers I have found fish I did not even know existed in this area. I am now on a quest to collect some special little fish for my aquarium known as the Orange Throat Darter. It is a very small fish that lives in mostly clear, fast-flowing creeks and streams in the Central Texas Hill Country primarily in the Edwards Plateau. Texas biologists claim that Texas populations are stable and they are not a protected species. I can not imagine any tropical fish you could buy for an aquarium being any more beautiful than this little native fish. It frequents shallow gravel bottoms in riffles and fast water. A colorful fish all year the breeding males literally bloom into color in the spring time. The female has a dull olive color with patches of orange and blue, while the male darter has metallic blue and green bars on the sides of its body with fins that are bright blue green in color with red orange hues throughout. The color may vary in the different drainages and watersheds the little fish calls home.

It is a very small fish in the 3.5 inch and smaller range. I hope to find a few before spring time so I can have them for my grand kids to study when the colors are the most vivid. Maybe I can catch a few Texas Cichlids and some grass shrimp at the same time, or maybe some freshwater prawns and some mussels or maybe…

If you see an old grey bald fat guy throwing a cast net or pulling a seine in the middle of a creek around Central Texas you will know who it is. Have a great second childhood, Wild Ed

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Albert A Rasch said...


What a great idea! I'm going to set up a large tank when i get back home for R&R and do the same thing!

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch

Anonymous said...

I have actually caught around 15 or so of the same darters you have caught but every time i try to catch another they would disappear they are actually a lot of them here in the nolan creek in harker heights city next to killeen in texas