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 simoterum
Etheostoma simoterum
(Snubnose Darter)
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
Etheostoma simoterum (Cope, 1868)

Common name: Snubnose Darter

Synonyms and Other Names: (Tennessee snubnose darter).

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Page and Burr (1991); Etnier and Starnes (1993). Several species were formerly combined with E. simoterum (e.g., E. atripinne), and Powers and Mayden (2007) redescribe the E. simoterum species complex and provide a key to species.

Size: 7.7 cm.

Native Range: Cumberland and Tennessee drainages in Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama (Page and Burr 1991). However, Menhinick (1991) did not list in North Carolina. The inclusion of North Carolina is probably based on Cope (1870) who listed the species in the state without comment.

Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: Hocutt et al. (1986) listed this species as probably introduced into the Kanawha (New) drainage above the falls. This drainage occurrs in Virginia and West Virginia. However, Jenkins and Burkhead (1994) list this species as native, but possibly introduced into the New drainage and to the Big Sandy drainage in Virginia. Stauffer et al. (1995) listed this species as probably present, expected, and possibly introduced into the Kanawha above the falls in West Virginia. Page and Burr (1991) also do not include the Kanawha drainage (part of the Ohio basin) in their description of the species' range. They restrict the range to only the Tennessee drainage.

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 simoterum are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
VA199919991Middle New

Table last updated 7/19/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Unknown.

Status: Established in Virginia. Unknown in West Virginia.

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: The Etheostoma simoterum (Cope 1870) complex was redescribed by Powers and Mayden (2007) who, on the basis of distribution, and morphometrics, and genetic analyses, described six species (four of which were new) formerly identified as E. simoterum. Etheostoma simoterum simoterum was split into E. tennesseense in the middle Tennessee River drainage and E. simoterum in the upper Tennessee River drainage. Etheostoma simoterum atripinne (originally described as Arlina atripinnis by Jordan [1877] and later synonymized as a subspecies of E. simoterum by Kirsch [1893] and Jordan and Evermann [1896]) was split into E. occidentale, E. atripinne, and E. orientale in the lower, middle, and upper Cumberland River respectively. Etheostoma planasaxatile was described from the Duck River drainage.

Using a combination of genetic and morphometric analyses, Harrington & Near (2012) recombined the taxa from the Cumberland River, E. occidentale, E. atripinne, and E. orientale (together formerly E. simoterum atripinne), into E. atripinne (Jordan 1877). Etheostoma simoterum and E. tennesseense (together formerly E. simoterum simoterum) in the middle and upper Tennessee River were combined to become E. simoterum (Cope 1870), a finding confirmed by Near et al. 2016. The elevation of E. planasaxtile Powers & Mayden 2007 as a separate species in the Duck River was confirmed. Evaluation of members of this species complex found outside their native ranges may therefore prove challenging without genetic confirmation.

References: (click for full references)

Cope, E.D. 1870. Partial synopsis of the fishes of the fresh waters of North Carolina. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 11:448-495.

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

Harrington, R.C. and T.J. Near. 2012. Phylogenetic and coalescent strategies of species delimitation in Snubnose Darters (Percidae: Etheostoma). Systematic Biology 61(1):63-79.

Hocutt, C.H., R.E. Jenkins, and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. 1986. Zoogeography of the fishes of the central Appalachians and central Atlantic Coastal Plain. 161-212 in C.H. Hocutt and E.O. Wiley, eds. The zoogeography of North American freshwater fishes. John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY.

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

Menhinick, E. F. 1991. The freshwater fishes of North Carolina. North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. 227 pp.

Near, T.J., E.D. France, B.P. Keck, and R.C. Harrington. 2016. Systematics and Taxonomy of the Snubnose Darter, Etheostoma simoterum (Cope). Bulletin of the Peabody Museum of Natural History 57(2):127-145. 

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.

Powers, S.L., and R.L. Mayden. 2007. Systematics, evolution and biogeography of the Etheostoma simoterum species complex (Percidae: subgenus Ulocentra). Bulletin of the Alabama Museum of Natural History 25:1-23.

Stauffer, J.R., Jr., J.M. Boltz, and L.R. White. 1995. The fishes of West Virginia. West Virginia Department of Natural Resources.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Pam Fuller, Matt Neilson, and Jonathan Freedman

Revision Date: 4/9/2020

Peer Review Date: 8/5/2011

Citation Information:
Pam Fuller, Matt Neilson, and Jonathan Freedman, 2024, Etheostoma simoterum (Cope, 1868): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=817, Revision Date: 4/9/2020, Peer Review Date: 8/5/2011, Access Date: 7/19/2024

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.


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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [7/19/2024].

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