Fantail darters have a long, slender body shape with a rounded tail. They have a straight-forward pointing mouth and pointed snout. Unlike some other Ohio darters, they have no bright colors on their body, only shades of brown.
These fish Fantail darters are well distributed throughout Ohio. They are most abundant in medium to small streams in the range of 20-40 feet wide. They are found in slower riffles or pools under flat slabs of rock. I often see them in Chippewa Creek in Brecksville Reservation.
The Darter Family has the second largest number of species of freshwater fishes in North America (only the minnow family has more species). Currently there are about 165 species of darters known and all reside in North America.
Fantail Darters are rather tolerant of pollution and turbid muddy waters and are usually the last darter species to disappear from badly polluted streams. Depending on the size of the specific darter, they can eat anything from tiny insects to larger insects and larva.
Darters usually rest on the bottom. When disturbed, they dart away quickly to a hiding place, which accounts for their common name.