Rare fish species spotted in Ohio for the first time in over 80 years

Rare fish species spotted in Ohio for the first time in over 80 years

January 30, 2022

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It’s always good to see an old friend.

A fish that was thought to be extinct in the state of Ohio was recently discovered in one of the Buckeye State’s rivers. This particular species hasn’t been seen in the area for over 80 years.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife announced that two longhead darters had been caught in the Ohio River last fall. This species was last spotted in Ohio in 1939.

Since then, the species was considered extirpated from the state.

The longhead darter was thought to be extirpated in the state of Ohio.
(Ohio Division of Wildlife)

The recent discovery, however, suggests that there is still a population of longhead darters in the state, even if it is very small. It’s unclear if the species has returned to the area or if a small population was able to go unnoticed for the last several decades.

The Ohio DOW posted about the find on Facebook, writing, “Why are we so excited? This striking creature, native to Ohio, was thought to be extirpated from the state… that is until fish management crews captured two this fall during Ohio River electrofishing bass surveys.”

The longhead darter hasn’t been seen in Ohio since 1939.

The post continued, “These were the first captures in Ohio since 1939 when Milton B. Trautman captured seven in the Walhonding River, a principal tributary of the Muskingum River in east-central Ohio.”

The Ohio DOW also offered an explanation for the term “extirpated,” writing, “The term refers to species that are locally extinct but not gone completely from the planet. Fortunately for the longhead darter and for those of us concerned, this species is not extirpated in the Buckeye State.”

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