NANFA-- Feeding darters

Bruce Stallsmith (
Fri, 11 May 2001 12:48:18 -0400

I've been keeping a small group of Tennessee Snubnose darters, _Etheostoma
simoterum_. They're interesting little fish, but I always worry that I'm not
feeding them well enough. The one nonliving food that they'll go after with
gusto has been freezedried bloodworms, which are Chironomid midge larvae. I
was just re-reading a publication of the Illinois Natural History Survey by
Larry Page and Richard Mayden, "The Life History of the Tennessee Snubnose
Darter, _Etheostoma simoterum_ in Brush Creek, Tennessee", No. 117 in the
Survey's Biological Notes series from 1981. Anyway, what struck me as a
major "duh!" were data on stomach contents from about 40 of these darters.
Page and Mayden found Chironomid larvae in the stomachs of about 90% of the
fish they examined, far and away the most common food item found. So I
stumbled into the correct practice over the past year... these darters also
love finely chopped earthworms and whiteworms.

This is my major revelation for the day, anyway!

--Bruce Stallsmith
Huntsville, AL, US of A

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