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Etheostoma brevirostrum (Holiday Darter)

July 8, 2015

The life history of the Holiday Darter is incompletely known. Only reproductive behavior (Johnston and Shute 1997; Anderson 2009), habitat use, and spawning seasons (Anderson 2009) have been studied. However, based on similarity of life history attributes among snubnose darters (Carney and Burr 1989; Johnston and Haag 1996; Khudamrongsawat et al. 2005), the Holiday darter probably lives 3+ years and matures in the first year. It is likely a benthic omnivore, feeding primarily on chironomid (midge) larvae and other common orders of aquatic insects and occasional microcrustaceans. Spawning occurs from late March to early June, with most activity occurring in April. Based on four females from the Amicalola Creek system, fecundity ranged from 50 to 150 mature eggs, egg sizes ranged from 1.2mm to 1.6mm diameter. The Holiday Darter is an “egg attacher” (sensu Page and Swofford 1984). A spawning female is courted by multiple males, but a dominant (alpha) male aggressively rebuts encroaching males and defends a “roving territory” of the receptive female. The alpha male is the principal spawning partner although satellite males often rush a spawning pair. The receptive female slowly swims along the stream bottom, frequently stopping, apparently to assess substrate attributes, and selects each spawning site where only one or two eggs are spawned. The process is repeated and often covers several meters of stream bottom until the courted female finishes spawning and is abandoned by the alpha male. Water temperatures during spawning in Amicalola Creek and the upper Etowah River ranged 10 to 17° C (Anderson 2009).

Publication Year 2015
Title Etheostoma brevirostrum (Holiday Darter)
Authors Noel M. Burkhead
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70171042
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Wetland and Aquatic Research Center