New darter described from Tennessee


American ichthyologists Steven Layman and Richard Mayden have described a new species of darter from the Cumberland River drainage in Tennessee.

Given the name of Bluemask Darter (Etheostoma akatulo) in the most recent issue of the journal Copeia, the new species is considered a member of the subgenus Doration.

The Bluemask Darter is distinguished from other members of the subgenus in having fully scaled cheeks, a complete lateral line, and breeding males with both bright blue pigment completely covering the lower face and soft dorsal and anal fins lacking orange and blue pigment.

According to the authors, the new species ...occurs in slow to moderate current over sand and fine gravel at depths of 10"50 cm, typically just downstream of riffles, in runs, or along margins of pools.

The name of the new species comes from the Cherokee noun for mask, in reference to the uninterrupted, intense blue pigment covering the lower face of breeding males.

For more information, see the paper: Layman, SR and RL Mayden (2009) A new species of the darter subgenus Doration (Percidae: Etheostoma) from the Caney Fork River system, Tennessee. Copeia 2009, pp. 157"170.