Bluemask Darter (Etheostoma akatulo)


This federally endangered species is restricted to streams in the Caney Fork River System in north-central Tennessee. Bluemask Darters are threatened from reservoir construction, invasive species (Redbreast Sunfish, Lepomis auritus), an unusual habitat where rivers seasonally dry, and a small native range. This species gets its common name from the bright blue cheek and throat coloration (mask) that males develop during the breeding season.