The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Etheostoma nigrum
Etheostoma nigrum
(Johnny Darter)
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
Etheostoma nigrum Rafinesque, 1820

Common name: Johnny Darter

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Becker (1983); Page (1983); Page and Burr (1991); Etnier and Starnes (1993); Jenkins and Burkhead (1994).

Size: 7.2 cm.

Native Range: St. Lawrence-Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, and Mississippi River basins from Hudson Bay to southern Mississippi, and from Quebec and Virginia to Saskatchewan and Colorado; on Atlantic Slope in James, Roanoke, Tar, and Neuse River drainages, Virginia and North Carolina; on Gulf Slope in Mobile Bay drainage, Alabama and Mississippi. Absent in White River drainage (Arkansas and Missouri), most of Arkansas River drainage, upper Tennessee River drainage, and middle Cumberland River drainage (Page and Burr 1991).

Native range data for this species provided in part by NatureServe NS logo
Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: This species was collected in the Colorado River from Lake Granby and Shadow Mountain Reservoir (Tyus et al. 1982) in Grand County and from Montezuma County, Colorado (Woodling 1985; Page and Burr 1991). Propst and Carlson (1986) reported that G. T. Baxter (University of Wyoming) believes that the Johnny Darter was not native to the North Platte drainage in Colorado. It has also been collected from the Lake Sakakawea drainage in McKenzie, McLean, and Williams counties, and Square Butte Creek in Oliver county, North Dakota.

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Etheostoma nigrum are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
CO197819853Animas; Colorado Headwaters; North Platte

Table last updated 7/23/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: Occupies sandy, muddy, or rocky areas of small and large streams, creeks, pools, reservoirs, and lakes (Propst and Carlson 1989; Page and Burr 1991). Prefers slow water over sand/gravel substrates, but has a wide range of environmental tolerances (Propst and Carlson 1989). Primarily consumes chironimid and other insect larvae (Propst and Carlson 1989).

Means of Introduction: Unknown.

Status: Reported from Colorado and North Dakota.

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

Remarks: An unidentified introduced darter collected from the San Juan drainage in New Mexico may be this species (Sublette et al. 1990).

References: (click for full references)

Becker, G.C. 1983. Fishes of Wisconsin. University of Madison Press, Madison, WI.

Etnier, D.A., and W.C. Starnes. 1993. The fishes of Tenneessee. University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, TN.

Jenkins, R.E., and N.M. Burkhead. 1994. Freshwater Fishes of Virginia. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD.

Page, L.M. 1983. Handbook of darters. T.F.H., Inc., Neptune City, NJ.

Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. The Peterson Guide Series, vol. 42. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.

Propst, D.L., and C.A. Carlson. 1986. The distribution and status of warmwater fishes in the Platte River drainage, Colorado. Southwestern Naturalist 31(2)149:167.

Propst, D.L., and C.A. Carlson. 1989. Life history notes and distribution of the johnny darter, Etheostoma nigrum (Percidae), in Colorado. Southwestern Naturalist 34(2):250-259.

Sublette, J.E., M.D. Hatch, and M. Sublette. 1990. The fishes of New Mexico. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM.

Tyus, H. M., B. D. Burdick, R. A. Valdez, C. M. Haynes, T. A. Lytle, and C. R. Berry. 1982. Fishes of the upper Colorado River basin: distribution, abundance, and status. Pages 12--70 in W. H. Miller, H. M. Tyus, and C. A. Carlson, editors. Fishes of the upper Colorado River system: present and future, Western Division, American Fisheries Society.

Woodling, J. Colorado's little fish: a guide to the minnows and other leser known fishes in the state of Colorado. Colorado Division of Wildlife, Denver, CO.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson

Revision Date: 4/30/2018

Peer Review Date: 8/11/2011

Citation Information:
Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson, 2024, Etheostoma nigrum Rafinesque, 1820: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=814, Revision Date: 4/30/2018, Peer Review Date: 8/11/2011, Access Date: 7/23/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [7/23/2024].

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