The Ohio Division of Wildlife confirmed a longheed darter sighting in the Buckeye State, marking the first time in more than eight decades. Before finding the fish recently, officials believed it was extinct (at least, extinct locally).
“This striking creature, native to Ohio, was thought to be extirpated from the state… that is until fish management crews captured two this fall during Ohio River electrofishing bass surveys,” the Ohio Division of Wildlife explained in a Facebook post, sharing a photo of the longhead darter. “Extirpated” means that a species is “locally extinct but not gone completely from the planet. Fortunately for the longhead darter and for those of us concerned, this species is not extirpated in the Buckeye State.”
Officials at the division explained that the last time the fish was captured in the state was in 1939. Milton B. Trautman caught seven of them in a tributary of the Muskingum River in east-central Ohio.
Here’s what a longhead darter is, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation:
“Reaching 4.5-5 inches in length, the longhead darter is a small to medium-sized fish. It has a long, narrow head and snout with a groove (called a frenum) separating the tip of the upper lip from the snout. There is a row of modified belly scales found along its underside and the gill covers are connected, rather than split, across the isthmus. Like most darter species, the longhead darter is quite colorful. Its back is bright olive-yellow and there is a series of more than 12 somewhat square blotches along the back. On the sides are a chain of slightly connected blotches. Lighter colored pigment ribbons occur between the two bands of pigment. There is a dark spot at the base of the tail fin with a small vertical bar underneath. One to three dusky spots occur on each side of the bottom of the head. The last spot connects the bar-shaped blotch below the eye, forming a sickle-shaped teardrop.”
See the Ohio Division of Wildlife post here: