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 exile
Etheostoma exile
(Iowa Darter)
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
Etheostoma exile (Girard, 1859)

Common name: Iowa Darter

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Becker (1983); Page (1983); Smith (1985); Woodling (1985); Page and Burr (1991).

Size: 7.2 cm.

Native Range: St. Lawrence-Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, and Mississippi River basins from southern Quebec to northern Alberta, and south to Ohio, Illinois, and Colorado (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:

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 exile are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
CO195220103Colorado Headwaters; Lower Dolores; Lower Yampa
NM198019801Upper San Juan
UT200520071Lower Green-Diamond

Table last updated 4/18/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: Occurs in clear to lightly turbid water in small cool lakes, bogs, ponds, and in slow-moving waters of small brooks to medium rivers. Primarily associated with submerged vegetation (Becker 1983; Propst and Carlson 1986).

Means of Introduction: Unknown. Possibly through bait-bucket transfer (Walford and Bestgen 2008).

Status: Failed in New Mexico. Established in Colorado and Utah.  The introduction into the Yampa River likely occurred in the early 2000s, as extensive sampling of the Little Yampa Canyon and Lily Park in 1999-2001 and routine sampling at Echo Park since the early 1990s failed to detect it (Walford and Bestgen 2008).

Impact of Introduction: Unknown.  However, it might compete for food or prey upon larvae of the endangered Colorado pikeminnow, Pteychocheilus lucius, or razorback sucker, Xyrauchen texanus (Walford and Bestgen 2008).

Remarks: Sublette et al. (1990) imply the specimen the New Mexico record is based on may not be this species. They report the specimen as Etheostoma sp. and also mention the presence of introduced johnny darters E. nigrum upstream in the Animas drainage reported by Woodling (1985) (see E. nigrum account).

References: (click for full references)

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

Beckman, W.C. 1952. Guide to the fishes of Colorado. Colorado Department of Fish and Game.

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.

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 the freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. The Peterson Guide Series, vol. 42. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.

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

Smith, C.L. The inland fishes of New York State. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY.

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 basin: distribution, abundance, and status. 12-70 in Miller, W.H., H.M. Tyus, and C.A. Carlson (eds.). Fishes of the upper Colorado River system: present and future. Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society, Albuquerque, NM. Western Division, American Fisheries Society.

Walford, C.D., and K.R. Bestgen. 2008. The nonnative Iowa darter (Etheostoma exile) established in the Yampa River, Colorado, and Green River, Utah. Southwestern Naturalist 53(4):529-533.

Woodling, J. 1985. Colorado's little fish: a guide to the minnows and other lesser 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: 5/16/2012

Peer Review Date: 5/16/2012

Citation Information:
Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson, 2024, Etheostoma exile (Girard, 1859): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=812, Revision Date: 5/16/2012, Peer Review Date: 5/16/2012, Access Date: 4/18/2024

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 [4/18/2024].

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For general information and questions about the database, contact Wesley Daniel. For problems and technical issues, contact Matthew Neilson.