Return to Conservation Biology Research on Fish

Hatch, J.T. 1986. Life history of the Least darter in Dinner Creek, Becker County, Minnesota. Final report submitted to the Nongame Wildife Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. 26 pp.


In order to fill in some gaps in our knowledge of darter natural history, a series of studies funded by the Nongame Wildlife Program of the Minnesota Department of natural Resources was begun in 1983 to elucidate the life histories of all fifteen Minnesota darter species. The approach has been to intensively study different but overlapping assemblages of darter species in geographically disjunct and physically diverse drainages.

In the first report on these studies (Hatch 1986), I presented basic life history data for 5 species of darters occurring the Upper St. Croix River drainage ( Etheostoma nigrum, Percina caprodes, P. evides, P. maculata, and P. phoxocephala). I now report the results of a study of the least darter (Etheostoma microperca) in Dinner Creek, Becker County, conducted from May 1984 through October 1985. The life history of this species has not been studied previously in Minnesota, and has been studied little elsewhere. Burr and Page (1979) studied a population in the Iroquois River, Illinois, and apparently Kossel (1967) and Starostka (1967) studied a population in a pond near the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, although neither published their results (mimeos cited in Lutterbie 1976). Lutterbie (1976) provided additional information on the growth and seasonal gonadal weights of Wisconsin specimens. Petravicz (1936) and Winn (1958) reported on the fecundity and reproductive behavior of least darters from Michigan.

This study was originally funded under the title, ?Comparative ecology of the Iowa darter (E. exile) and the least darter (E. micropercaE. microperca from Dinner Creek, 2) to determine spawning periods and reproductive habits of this population, and 3) to describe its seasonal habit use. This life history of the Iowa darter is reported in a separate document, which accompanies this one.


Burr, B.M. and L.M. Page. 1979. The life history of the least darter, Etheostoma microperca in the Iroquois River, Illinois. Illinois Natural History Survey Biological Notes 112:1-15.

Hatch, J.T. 1986. Comparative growth, reproduction, habitat and food utilization of darters of the St. Croix River drainage. Final report submitted to the Nongame Wildlife Program, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Kossel, A.A. 1967. The least darter (Etheostoma microperca). Department of Biology, University of Wisconsin ? Steven's Point (mimeo.).

Lutterbie, G.W. 1976. The darters (Pisces: Percidae: Etheostomatinae) of Wisconsin. Unpublished Master's Thesis, University of Wisconsin ? Steven's Point.

Petravicz, J.J. 1936. The breeding habits of the least darter, Microperca punctulata Putnam. Copeia 1936: 77-82.

Starostka, V.J. 1967. The limnology of the heart-shaped pond and a study of its population of the least darter (Etheostoma microperca). Department of Biology, University of Wisconsin ? Steven's Point (mimeo.).

Winn, H.E. 1958. Comparative reproductive behavior and ecology of fourteen species of darters (Pisces-Percidae). Ecological Monographs 28:155-191.

Full document (1147 KB) This is a PDF file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download it.