Crystal darter

Crystal darter

Conservation status

Vulnerable (IUCN 3.1)[1]

Scientific classification







C. asprella

Binomial name

Crystallaria asprella
(D. S. Jordan, 1878)


Pleurolepis asprellus (D. S. Jordan, 1878)
Ammocrypta asprella (D. S. Jordan, 1878)

The crystal darter (Crystallaria asprella) is a small North American fish found in small, moderate, and swift rivers in the drainage basins of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.[2] It is now extirpated from a majority of its range along the Ohio River.


1 Appearance
2 Distribution and habitat
3 Reproductive Biology
4 Burrowing Behavior
5 Threats
6 Conservation
7 References
8 External links

The crystal darter can grow to 12 cm (5 in) in length. It is olive-colored to tan with four dark saddles extending downward to its lateral line, a brownish stripe, and a whitish belly. Its maximum reported age is three years.[3]
Distribution and habitat[edit]
The historical range of the crystal darter included the Mississippi River basin, from Wisconsin and Indiana, southwards to southeastern Oklahoma, northern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, the Mobile Basin, Pascagoula, Pearl River, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. It is now absent from much of this range and is rare in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, and Missouri. It is found in swift-flowing streams with clear or slightly turbid water and moderately swift riffles, on small or medium-sized rivers with beds of sand or gravel. It is not found on silty bottoms or areas with vegetation. Individual fish often hide under stones or bury themselves in sand with just their eyes showing.[1]
Reproductive Biology[edit]
One study focused on the Saline River, Arkansas, suggested that crystal darters spawn multiple times from January through mid-April.[4] Another study, conducted in Alabama, revealed conflicting evidence that suggested the onset of spawning begins in late February and lasts approximately one week in duration.[5] The explanation for such discrepancy in breeding season timing and length is unknown, however, Hubbs (1985) suggested a difference in latitudinal location could explain the variation.[5] Multiple males can copulate with one female at a time.[6] Juvenile crystal darters grow rapidly and reach sexual maturity before age one, but do not spawn until the foll