Fountain Darter (Etheostoma
- Texas Status
- Fountain darters are less than 1 inch long.
- Life History
- Small aquatic invertebrates form the fountain darter's diet. Females lay eggs year-round. Their lifespan is 1-2 years. Only two populations exist in the world.
- Fountain darters require clean, spring-fed waters with bottom vegetation.
- This small fish lives only in the San Marcos and Comal River headwaters (where the rivers begin) in Hays and Comal counties, Texas. They are most often found in mats of filamentous green algae. Adults occupy the quiet and flowing parts of the river, but the young stay mostly in slow-flowing backwater areas with lots of vegetation.
- Fountain darters are endangered because there is less water flowing from the springs now than in the past. Human population growth and increased use of groundwater in the area have caused decreased flow from the springs, especially in years of low rainfall. You can help this and other aquatic species by conserving water and keeping the San Marcos and Comal Rivers clean and free from trash.