NANFA-- Rainbow Darter Variation

Mark (
Fri, 31 Jan 2003 18:22:16 -0500

At 1:09 PM -0500 1/31/03, Bruce Stallsmith wrote:
>Thanks Jan, your comments on Frank McCormick give strength to my convictions
>that the rainbows I have are somewhat different from others I've seen.
>They're not as brilliant as other rainbows, more to the point. I thought I
>had two fairly colorful females, based on collecting them when they were
>still small. But now that they've grown up and I look more closely and think
>about it, I realize that both are males. They have vivid orange throats, but
>the rest of the body coloration is more subdued than the "standard" male
>rainbow. And if we're talking about headwater populations more likely being
>diagnosable species through allopatric processes, well, this location on
>Estill Fork could be ground zero for a small-range species. Now I want to go
>and get some more!

I think you are saying that your specimens are essentially tank raised?
One would want to be careful about making color-based observations on tank
raised fish. Diet can easily effect color. Maybe they're not getting
enough of the nutrient that produces the blue pigment. Also, color in
males varies dramatically with season and breeding condition. Typically,
rainbow darters maintained long term in aquaria do not display their full
color potential. So there's another excuse to go out collecting. See what
the wild fish look like in the height of the breeding season. Get photos
and I'll post them to the web for others to evaluate. I'm collecting
multiple images of each species I can get so that you can see the
variation. I'm doing sunfish and everything else too. Sunfish are
extremely variable. Especially the longear.

/"Unless stated otherwise, comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of the North American Native Fishes
/ Association"
/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes Association
/ To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get help, send the word
/ subscribe, unsubscribe, or help in the body (not subject) of an email to
/ For a digest version, send the command to
/ instead.
/ For more information about NANFA, visit our web page,