NANFA-- Chasing F. bifax

Rose Lawn Museum (
Wed, 14 Aug 2002 12:05:52 -0400

When I finally regained my footing, I climbed back up and crossed to the
south side of the bridge. The approach wasn't a lot better, but there were
fewer berries on that side. I spied a sliver of daylight near the river and
walked down the weeds until I broke through onto a strip of sand at the
waters edge. Dripping with perspiration, I resisted the urge to just go
swimming instead, and waded into the refreshing flow.

The river was fairly wide with a gentle current and lots of vegetation
along the banks. The bottom was muddy in spots but mostly sand mixed with
gravel. There were also a few rocky riffles and scattered tiny islands
covered with reeds. From the way it looked, I figured I'd have my F. bifax
fairly quickly with lots of time left over for exploring. Wrong again. I
thrashed around both shores for about 1/4 mile above and below the bridge
without ever seeing a single studfish. F. stellifer's range overlapped in
that location, but I didn't even see any of those. I did, however, find (I
think) eight different species of darters. I moved on to several other
nearby creeks, but still didn't find my target species.

As the sunlight faded, I accepted defeat (for the time being) and headed
back to GA. I know I was close to 'em, so I'll be back soon! The species I
observed (if all of my IDs are correct) included:

Alabama hogsucker (Hypentelium etowanum)
Tallapoosa shiner (Cyprinella gibbsi)
Striped shiner (Luxilus chrysocephalus)
Creek chub (Semotilus atromaculatus)
Stoneroller (Campostoma anomalum)
Banded sculpin (Cottus carolinae)
Speckled madtom (Noturus leptacanthus)
Yellow bullhead (Ameiurus natalis)
Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)
Longear sunfish (L. megalotis)
Juvenile redeye bass (Micropterus coosae)
Juvenile spotted bass (M. punctulatus)
Shield darter (Percina peltata)
Bronze darter (P. palmaris)
Freckled darter (P. lenticula)
Blackbanded darter (P. nigrofasciata)
River darter (P. shumardi)
Tallapoosa darter (Etheostoma tallapoosae)
Greenbreast darter (E. jordani)
Speckled darter (E. stigmaeum)

The speckled darter I thought at first was a logperch. It was huge for a
darter, but after I got the book out and looked it up, it clearly wasn't a
logperch. I may try to put together a trip back to this location before
warm weather ends. If you think you might want to go along, let me know.

All The Best,

Steven A. Ellis
Kennesaw, GA
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