Iowa Darter (Etheostoma exile)
This species occurs in a broad curving band from Alberta and Saskatchewan through southern Manitoba, southern Ontario and southern Quebec. It reaches the St. Lawrence drainage of New York and occurs in central Ohio, northern Illinois and central Nebraska. It lives in the Platte River in Wyoming and eastern Montana. In New York, there are scattered records in the western part of the state, Oneida Lake, and the St. Lawrence corridor.
The Iowa darter is a slow-water species that occurs among vegetation and often over flocculent bottom in lakes, ponds, or the slower sections of streams.
In Whitmore Lake in southern Michigan, male darters established territories along undercut banks in late March or early April. Spawning occurred on fibrous roots, the females moving into the territories for spawning and then returning to deeper water. As in other darter species, the male mounted the female with his pelvic fins over her first dorsal and his caudal peduncle next to hers. Sometimes the females wriggled into the vegetation or gravel on which the eggs were to be laid; often they did not.
Young Iowa darters feed chiefly on entomostracans, and larger organisms are taken by larger fish. The diet also increases in complexity with increasing age and older individuals feed on amphipods, midge larvae, and other insect larvae.
This is a glacial species that appears to be holding its own in New York.
Distribution of iowa darters in NY state. Dark dots represent where actual samples of iowa darters were taken. White dots represent historic distributions.
An image of the iowa darter is also available for download.
The above species description was taken out of "The Inland Fishes of New York State" by C. Lavett Smith, published by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, 1985.