New Fish Species Discovered: Roosevelt, Carter, Clinton, Gore and Obama

Biologists have discovered five new species of darters in freshwater river systems in the eastern United States and named them after four U.S. presidents and a vice president: Theodore Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Barack Obama.

The Spangled darter, Etheostoma obama (Layman SR / Mayden RL / via Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute, tnaci.org)

All new species belong to Etheostoma, a genus of small freshwater fish in the family Percidae known for beautiful color patterns.

According to Prof Richard Mayden of the Saint Louis University’s Department of Biology and Dr Steven Layman of Geosyntec Consultants, authors of a paper that describes the newly found species in the Bulletin of the Alabama Museum of Natural History, the species were named after former or current U.S leaders who have worked to promote conservation and environmental protection: Theodore Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Barack Obama.

From top to bottom: Etheostoma gore, Etheostoma teddyroosevelt, Etheostoma jimmycarter, Etheostoma clinton (Layman SR / Mayden RL / via Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute, tnaci.org)

Common names of the new species are: the Highland darter (Etheostoma teddyroosevelt), the Bluegrass darter (Etheostoma jimmycarter), the Beaded darter (Etheostoma clinton), the Cumberland darter (Etheostoma gore) and the Spangled darter (Etheostoma obama). The biologists say these darters live in waters in Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Kansas and Oklahoma.

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Bibliographic information: Layman SR and Mayden RL. 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, no.30: 1-83