New Fish Species Named for Roosevelt, Carter, Clinton, Gore and Obama

By Robert J. Korpella

First posted on 11-29-2012

Biologists identified five new fish species recently, and named them after former presidents and a vice-president: Teddy Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Barack Obama. Two species are found in the waters of Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

Scientists chose these political leaders for their environmental records.

All the new species were once considered as isolated populations of the colorful and wide-ranging Speckled Darter (Etheostoma stigmaeum). But recent studies into color patterns, morphology and taxonomy proved the five new fish species belonged in their own, separate groups.

Etheostoma teddyroosevelt, or the Highland Darter, is found in the Arkansas and upper White River watersheds of the Ozark Plateau in Missouri and Arkansas as well as in extreme southeast Kansas and northwest Oklahoma.

Etheostoma clinton, the Beaded Darter, makes its home in the upper Caddo and upper Ouachita River watersheds of the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas.

Etheostoma obama, the Spangled Darter, is found in the Duck and Buffalo rivers of Tennessee. Etheostoma gore is the Cumberland Darter, and its range is restricted to the Cumberland River below Cumberland Falls in Tennessee and Kentucky, except for the upper Caney Fork drainage. Etheostoma jimmycarter, the Bluegrass Darter, is restricted to the Green River system in Tennessee and Kentucky.

Article based on the study by Layman, Steven R., and Richard L. Mayden. 2012. Morphological diversity and phylogenetics of the darter subgenus Doration (Percidae: Etheostoma), with descriptions of five new species. Bulletin of the Alabama Museum of Natural History Number 30:1-83. Color illustrations by Joe Tomelleri. Via Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute,