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.

Ammocrypta bifascia
Ammocrypta bifascia
(Florida Sand Darter)
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
Ammocrypta bifascia Williams, 1975

Common name: Florida Sand Darter

Synonyms and Other Names: Etheostoma bifascia

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Williams (1975); Page (1983); Page and Burr (1991; as Etheostoma bifascia); Mettee et al. (1996).

Size: 7.7 cm TL

Native Range: Gulf Slope drainages from Choctawhatchee River west to Perdido River, southern Alabama and Florida panhandle (Williams 1975).

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:

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 Ammocrypta bifascia are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
FL197420062Apalachicola; Chipola

Table last updated 7/13/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: Inhabits streams with sandy bottoms and moderate to swift currents (Williams 1975). Spawning occurs from April-August, with maturity reached by 38 (females) to 43 (males) mm SL (Williams 1975; Heins 1985). Maximum life span of approximately 3 years (Heins 1985).

Means of Introduction: The introduction of the Florida Sand Darter was most likely via a bait bucket (Gilbert and J. D. Williams, unpublished data). While this highly translucent darter may not be used for bait, it easily may have been taken as by-catch by anglers seining for bait. It is common in streams of the Choctawhatchee River drainage, just west of the Apalachicola River, and anyone seining for bait minnows in streams with sandy bottom pools may have captured Florida Sand Darters.

Status: Established in Florida. Many more collections of Florida Sand Darter have been reported since the original two reports. The species is now thought to be fairly common in the Apalachicola River (Gilbert and J. D. Williams, personal communication).

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: Starnes and Starnes (1979) concluded that the species' presence in the Apalachicola was a natural occurrence and resulted from coastal dispersal. They argued against the possibility of a bait-bucket release because the two known collections were temporally and geographically separated. However, there are several reasons to support the idea that the Florida Sand Darter's occurrence in this area resulted from human introduction. The species had never been taken during the many fish samplings conducted in the Apalachicola prior to 1974. The species is known to occur naturally west of the Apalachicola in the upstream reaches of streams draining the upper Coastal Plain. Its absence in the Chattahoochee and Flint rivers in Alabama and Georgia, two upstream tributaries of the Apalachicola River, tends to support a recent introduction.

Voucher specimens: Florida (UF 24415, 73263, 175939; TU 170664, 170734).

References: (click for full references)

Heins, D.C. 1985. Life history traits of the Florida sand darter Ammocrypta bifascia, and comparisons with the naked sand darter Ammocrypta beani. American Midland Naturalist 113(2):209-216.

Lee, D.S., C.R. Gilbert, C.H. Hocutt, R.E. Jenkins, D.E. McAllister, and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, NC.

Mettee, M.F., P.E. O'Neil, and J.M. Pierson. 1996. Fishes of Alabama and the Mobile Basin. Oxmoor House, Inc., Birmingham, AL.

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

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

Starnes, W.C., and L.B. Starnes. 1979. Discovery of the percid genus Ammocrypta (Pisces) in the Apalachicola drainage, Florida. Florida Scientist 42(1):61-62.

Swift, C.C., C.R. Gilbert, S.A. Bortone, G.H. Burgess, and R.W. Yerger. 1986. Zoogeography of the fishes of the southeastern United States: Savannah River to Lake Pontchartrain. 213-266 in C.H. Hocutt and E.O. Wiley, eds. The zoogeography of North American freshwater fishes. John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY.

Williams, J.D. 1975. Systematics of the percid fishes of the subgenus Ammocrypta, genus Ammocrypta, with descriptions of two new species. Bulletin of the Alabama Museum of Natural History 1:1-56.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson

Revision Date: 4/16/2013

Peer Review Date: 4/16/2013

Citation Information:
Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson, 2024, Ammocrypta bifascia Williams, 1975: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=805, Revision Date: 4/16/2013, Peer Review Date: 4/16/2013, Access Date: 7/13/2024

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 [7/13/2024].

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