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If you could not guess, darters are named for their speed and ability to dart from place to place. There are different types of darters, but in general they are smaller North American fish. Most live in the bottom of streams, feeding on insect larvae or minute crustacea. The research is not clear, but experts believe they are spring spawners, that bury their eggs in the bottoms of streams.
- The Smallest
The smallest darters are only one to three inches long. The typically are brilliant in color. Their color and size make them delightful to watch as they dart from place to place.
- The Medium Sized
There are actually three types of darters in this size category. The first is known as the Johnny darter. The Johnny darter is known in Canada and the United States. It is between two and three inches long and greenish in color. The Johnny usually has scale patterns forming the letters of V, X or W along its sides.
The second is called an Eastern sand, or Baird darter. It is about two and a half inches long and sand-colored. Obviously, this fish, likes the sand, many times burying itself in the sandy bottom.
The third fish likes swamps. It is called the Girard, and is found in coastal waters from the Gulf to Maine. Its color adopts the green/brown colors of the swampy, murky waters.
- The Largest
The largest darter is known as a Rafinesque. It grows five or six inches long with a gray or green color. Many vertical bars cover the general color like a zebra's coat. This fish likes the northern United States, including the Hudson Bay and the Great Lakes.