New Percina is named Halloween darter

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American scientists have named a new species of darter in the genus Percina endemic to the Chattahoochee and Flint River systems in Georgia and Alabama in a recent issue of the journal Zootaxa.

Mary Freeman, Byron Freeman, Noel Burkhead and Carrie Straight name the new species the Halloween darter, Percina crpyta, after the striking black and orange coloration of nuptial individuals (colours associated with Halloween); the origin of the scientific name comes from the Greek kryptos, meaning hidden (after its close similarity to P. nigrofasciata, which is found together with it).

The Halloween darter is distinguished from other Percina species in possessing the following: slightly connected branchiostegal membranes; smooth preopercular margin; well-developed premaxillary frenum; seven closely spaced rectangular dorsal saddles; subconical snout with prominent subocular bar; first-dorsal fin with yellow-orange to orange submarginal band in nuptial males and females.

The new species inhabits relatively swiftly flowing areas over bedrock or a mixture of coarse (boulder to gravel) bed sediments.

For more information, see the paper: Freeman, MC, BJ Freeman, NM Burkhead and CA Straight (2008) A new species of Percina (Perciformes: Percidae) from the Apalachicola River drainage, southeastern United States. Zootaxa 1963, pp. 25"42.