Rush Darter Placed on State Protected Species List

The rush darter, Etheostoma phytophilum, a species of fish that occurs only in the Black Warrior River System of Alabama, has been added to the Nongame Species Regulation 220-2.-92 effective July 16, 2004.  This regulation prohibits the unlawful take, capture, kill, or attempt to take, capture or kill any rush darters.

Currently, the rush darter is known to have one of the most restricted distributions of all vertebrates occurring in Alabama. Only two populations of rush darters are known to exist. This is an uncommon species found in small streams and spring runs. Even where it occurs, it is found in low numbers. A majority of rush darter is found on privately owned lands and is within close proximity of metropolitan Birmingham.

Due to the limited distribution and low numbers, the rush darter is vulnerable to non-point source pollution, habitat alteration and water degradation. This regulation is intended to protect the rush darter population from further decline.

For more information on protected species in Alabama, visit the Department of Conservation’s Web site at