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 zonale
Etheostoma zonale
(Banded Darter)
Native Transplant
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Etheostoma zonale (Cope, 1868)

Common name: Banded 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: 7.8 cm.

Native Range: Lake Michigan and Mississippi River basins from southwestern New York to Minnesota, and south to northern Georgia, northern Alabama, and southern Arkansas. Absent from Former Mississippi Embayment; Wabash River drainage of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois; and streams of southern Illinois, southern Iowa, and northern Missouri (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 zonale are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
MD197820082Lower Susquehanna; Upper Chesapeake
NY198120127Chemung; Chenango; Owego-Wappasening; Seneca; Tioga; Upper Genesee; Upper Susquehanna
PA1971201115Lower Juniata; Lower Susquehanna; Lower Susquehanna-Penns; Lower Susquehanna-Swatara; Lower West Branch Susquehanna; Middle West Branch Susquehanna; Owego-Wappasening; Pine; Raystown; Sinnemahoning; Susquehanna; Tioga; Upper Juniata; Upper Susquehanna-Lackawanna; Upper Susquehanna-Tunkhannock
SC196120093Saluda; Seneca; Upper Savannah

Table last updated 1/18/2021

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Unknown. The species was introduced into the Susquehanna River in the late 1960s, possibly during a high-water event (Cooper 1983) or through bait bucket transfer (Kneib 1972; Denoncourt et al. 1975), and is now the most abundant darter in many parts of the drainage (Raesly et al. 1990). Only a single individual was collected from South Carolina in July 1962, 1.9 mi from the North Carolina state line (M. Taylor, personal communication). Tsai and Raney (1974) stated that E. zonale may have entered the Savannah River drainage of the Atlantic Slope via stream capture.

Status: Established in Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania. Reported from South Carolina.

Impact of Introduction: Introduced Banded Darters are hybridizing with native tessellated darters E. olmstedi in the Susquehanna River, Pennsylvania (Raesly et al. 1990). In addition, Carlson (2008) found changes to the buccal cavity length in E. olmstedi following the introduction of E. zonale to Catatonk Creek, New York, and suggested that this was due to tessellated darters moving to more marginal habitat following invasion. Habitat shifts and compression of niche breadth of E. olmstedi in areas of sympatry with E. zonale was observed by Van Snik Gray et al. (2005).

Remarks: Menhinick (1991) did not list this species as occurring in North Carolina, and Dahlberg and Scott (1971a) report it was not collected in the Savannah drainage in Georgia.

Voucher specimen: South Carolina (TU 29485).

References: (click for full references)

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

Carlson, R.L. 2008. Morphological change in the tessellated darter (Etheostoma olmstedi) following the introduction of the banded darter (E. zonale) to the Susquehanna River drainage. Copeia 2008(3):661-668.

Cooper, E. L. 1983. Fishes of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, PA.

Dahlberg, M. D., and D. C. Scott. 1971a. The freshwater fishes of Georgia. Bulletin of the Georgia Academy of Science 29:1-64.

Denoncourt, R.F., C.H. Hocutt, and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. 1975. Extensions of the known ranges of Ericymba buccata Cope and Etheostoma zonale (Cope) in the Susquehanna River drainage. Proceedings of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science 49:45-46.

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

Kneib, R.T. 1972. The effects of man's activity on the distribution of five stream fishes in Little Pine Creek, Pennsylvania. Proceedings of the Pennsylvania Academy of Sciences 49:49-51.

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

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

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

Page, L. M. 1983. Handbook of darters. Tropical Fish Hobbyist Publications, Inc., Neptune City, NJ. 271 pp.

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

Raesly, R. L., J. R. Stauffer, Jr., and R. F. Denoncourt. 1990. Hybridization between Etheostoma zonale and Etheostoma olmstedi (Teleostei: Percidae), following an introduction event. Copeia 1990(2):584-588.

Rohde, F. C., R. G. Arndt, J. W. Foltz, and J. M. Quattro. 2009. Freshwater Fishes of South Carolina.  University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC. 430 pp.

Smith, C. L. 1985. The inland fishes of New York state. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY. 522 pp.

Taylor, M. - Curator, Tulane University Museum.

Tsai, C., and E. C. Rainey. 1974. Systematics of the banded darter, Etheostoma zonale (Pisces: Percidae). Copeia 1974(1):1-24.

Van Snik Gray, E., K.A. Kellogg, and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. 2005. Habitat shift of a native darter Etheostoma olmstedi (Teleostei: Percidae) in sympatry with a non-native darter Etheostoma zonale. American Midland Naturalist 154:166-177.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson

Revision Date: 7/28/2011

Peer Review Date: 7/28/2011

Citation Information:
Pam Fuller, and Matt Neilson, 2021, Etheostoma zonale (Cope, 1868): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=818, Revision Date: 7/28/2011, Peer Review Date: 7/28/2011, Access Date: 1/18/2021

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. [2021]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [1/18/2021].

Contact us if you are using data from this site for a publication to make sure the data are being used appropriately and for potential co-authorship if warranted. For queries involving fish, please contact Matthew Neilson. For queries involving invertebrates, contact Amy Benson.