• Family: Percidae (Perches and darters)
• Other Names: None
• Ohio Status: Extirpated
• Adult Size: Typically 1.5-2.5 inches, can reach 3.5 inches.
• Typical Foods: Insect larvae, crustaceans, and other aquatic invertebrates.
• Ohio Status: Endangered
The gilt darter has 6-9 squarish dark blotches along their side. These blotches can be black or dark blue in color and at times appear fused together to form a wide dark stripe. They have a well defined dark tear drop under the eye. The first dorsal fin is orange to red in color, all other fins are clear. Male gilt darters have a bright orange throat and chest. Their dorsal fin is often much brighter solid orange or red than the female. They also have an orange belly and some orange or red on their sides between the bluish-black blotches running down their side. The colors intensify on breeding males and their anal and pelvic fins become a bluish-black color with a white outline. The blotches on their side often extend up to and across their back forming dark bluish-black saddles.
Habitat and Habits
Gilt darters are found in swift riffles often in and around many rocks and boulders. They are very intolerant of turbid (murky) waters and are only found in the clearest of rivers. Gilt darters are found in medium to large rivers. In Ohio a gilt darter was found in the Maumee River in 1893 below the dam at Grand Rapids Ohio. They were also found in the Ohio River near Raccoon Island in 1888. No other gilt darters have been found in Ohio however they still can be found in every state surrounding Ohio.
Reproduction and Care of the Young
Gilt darters spawn April or May. They lay their eggs in riffles burying them in gravel. They provide no further parental care for the eggs or young.