Etheostoma sellare Radcliffe & Welsh, 1913 (1912?)

Maryland darter



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Hadropterus sellaris Radcliffe & Welsh, 1913 (original combination); Poeclichthys sellaris Radcliffe & Welsh, 1913


Conservation Status

Extinct (Burkhead, 2012)

Last record: 1988 (Suckling et al. 2004)

IUCN RedList status: Extinct


Estimated date of extinction: 1988 (Burkhead, 2012)


The Maryland Darter (Etheostoma sellare) was originally described based upon two specimens*, both sub-adult males, collected in 1912 and described as coming from "Swan Creek, near Havre de Grace, Md.," (the type locality). However, subsequent attempts to collect the species failed until 1962 when Cornell University students serendipitously discovered a juvenile individual amongst a group of Tesselated darters which they had collected earlier (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1985). The first live specimen collected from the wild was in 1965 (Ibid.). Numerous specimens were collected and preserved between 1962 and 1971, and the species continued to be captured and released until 1988 when the final reports of this species were made (Ibid.). A renewed effort was made to locate the species in 2009 (The, 2009), however it unfortunately met with no success. Hern (2011) reported a similar failure.


* Neely et al. (2003) commit two factual errors when they state that the species was described based on a single specimen collected in 1911. A reading of the original paper (available online) clearly mentions two specimens captured on May 2, 1912 and not 1911 as (Ibid.) state.



Maryland, USA


Biology & Ecology




Holotype: USNM 74346 (sub-adult male)

Type locality: "Swan Creek, near Havre de Grace, Md.,"


Other specimens:

According to (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1985) 80 specimens are preserved in museum collections, and none of these dates to after 1971. However that publication was published in 1985 and yet the Maryland Darter was last seen in 1988. So it is possible that other specimens were preserved in the final years of the species' existence (one specimen was collected in 1985:


USNM 212146.5070814 (1 fish)


See here:



Above: illustration by Aleta Pahl, from Ono et al. (1983)



Original scientific description:

Radcliffe, Lewis and Welsh, William W. (1913, dated 1912). Description of a new darter from Maryland. Bulletin of the Bureau of Fisheries 32: 29-32.


Other references:

Burkhead, Noel M. (2012). Extinction Rates in North American Freshwater Fishes, 1900–2010. BioScience 62(9): 798-808.

Harrison, I.J. and Stiassny, M.L.J. (1999). The Quiet Crisis. A preliminary listing of the freshwater fishes of the world that are Extinct or “Missing in Action". In: R.D.E. MacPhee (ed.) Extinctions in Near Time, pp. 271-331. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York.

Hern, Tyler Russell. (2011). Rediscovering the Maryland Darter (Etheostoma sellare). Thesis submitted to the Graduate College of Marshall University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Masters of Science, 157 pp. [documents an unsuccessful attempt to relocate the species]

Hubbs, C.L. and J.D. Black. (1940). Percid fishes related to Poecilichthys variatus, with description of three new forms. Mus. Zool. Univ. Mich. Occ. Pap. No. 416. 33 pp.

Jelks, Howard L., Walsh, Stephen J., Burkhead, Noel M., Contreras-Balderas, Salvador, Díaz-Pardo, Edmundo, Hendrickson, Dean A., Lyons, J., Mandrak, Nicholas E., McCormick, Frank, Nelson, Joseph F., Platania, Steven P., Porter, Brady A., Renaud, Claude B., Schmitter-Soto, Juan Jacabo, Taylor, Eric B. and Warren, Melvin L. Jr. (2008). Conservation status of imperiled North American freshwater and diadromous fishes. Fisheries 33(8): 372-407.

Knapp, Leslie. (1974). Darter in danger. Env. Action 6(5/6): 21.

Knapp, Leslie W. (1976). Redescription, relationships and status of the Maryland darter, Etheostoma sellare (Radcliffe & Welsh), an endangered species. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 89(6): 99-118.

Knapp, Leslie, William J. Richards, Robert V. Miller and Neil R. Foster. (1963). Rediscovery of the percid fish Etheostoma sellare (Radcliffe and Welsh). Copeia 1963(2): 455.

Kuehne, R.A. and Barbour, R.W. 1983. The American Darters. University Press of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.

Lee, D.S., Gilbert, C.R., Hocutt, C.H., Jenkins, R.E., McAllister, D.E. and Stauffer, J.R., Jr. 1980. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Maryland Department of Natural Resources. (1977). The Maryland darter, an endangered species. Information pamphlet prepared under contract with the USFWS. 5 pp.

Matthews, J.R. and Moseley, C.J. (eds). 1990. The Official World Wildlife Fund Guide to Endangered Species of North America. Volume 1. Plants, Mammals. xxiii + pp 1-560 + 33 pp. appendix + 6 pp. glossary + 16 pp. index, pp. 1180. Beacham Publications, Inc., Washington, D.C.

NatureServe. 2013. Etheostoma sellare. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T8128A18230889. Accessed on 18 June 2022.

David A. Neely, Amy E. Hunter and Richard L. Mayden. (2003). Threatened Fishes of the World: Etheostoma sellare (Radcliffe & Welsh) 1913 (Percidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes 67(4): 340.

Nelson, J.S., Crossman, E.J., Espinosa-Perez, H., Findley, L.T., Gilbert, C.R., Lea, R.N. and Williams, J.D. 2004. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland.

Ono, R. Dana, Williams, James D. and Wagner, Anne [with painting by Aleta Pahel]. (1983). Vanishing Fishes of North America. Washington DC: Stone Wall Press, Inc. 257 pp.

Page, L.M. 1983. Handbook of Darters. T. F. H. Publications, Inc., Neptune City, New Jersey.

Page, L.M. and Burr, B.M. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes: North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts.

Page, L.M. and Burr, B.M. 2011. Peterson field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston, Massachusetts.

Raesly, R. L. (1991). Population Status of the Endangered Maryland Darter, Etheostoma sellare, in Deer Creek. Report submitted to the Maryland Natural Heritage Program, 28 pp.

Raesly, R. L. (1992). Population Status of the Endangered Maryland Darter, Etheostoma sellare (Radcliffe and Welsh). Report submitted to the Maryland Natural Heritage Program, 13 pp.

Raesly, R. L. (1996). Summary of Proposed Work for the Determination of the Population Status of the Maryland Darter, Etheostoma sellare, 6 pp.

Robins, C.R., Bailey, R.M., Bond, C.E., Brooker, J.R., Lachner, E.A., Lea, R.N. and Scott, W.B. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society.

Stephens, Robert R., Johnson, Keith A. and Grady, Mary P. (2014). Phylogenetic Placement of the Extinct Etheostoma sellare and Other Darters with a Compilation of Morphological Character State Polarizations for Darters. Copeia 2014(3): 540-555. [Abstract]

Suckling, Kieran, Slack, Rhiwena and Nowicki, Brian. (2004). Extinct and the Endangered Species Act. Centre For Biological Diversity. 63 pp.


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1967. Native fish and wildlife: endangered species. Federal Register 32(48): 4001.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (1978). Maryland darter. Endang. Spec. Tech. Bull. 3(6):8.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (1980a). Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; proposed designation of critical habitat for the endangered Maryland darter. Fed. Reg. 45(169):57680-57682. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (1980b). Critical habitat proposed for Maryland darter. Endang. Spec. Tech. Bull. 5(9):5-6. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (1982). Maryland Darter Recovery Plan. Maryland. 16pp.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (1985). Revised Maryland Darter Recovery Plan. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Newton Corner, MA. 38 pp.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 1990. Endangered and threatened species recovery program: report to Congress.

USFWS. 1996. 90-Day Finding for a Petition To De-List the Maryland Darter (Etheostoma sellare). United States Fish and Wildlife Service, February 15, 1996, 61 FR 5971.

World Conservation Monitoring Centre. (1996). Etheostoma sellare. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. ( Downloaded on 24 April 2012.


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