March 11, 2020 – March brings with it the promise of spring. The days get warmer, trees and flowers blossom, bees and butterflies begin to fly about, and our allergies start to flare up. Life stirs beneath the surface as well in many of the streams and rivers of Virginia.
The warming waters and longer days trigger an internal clock in freshwater fishes to display their best and brightest breeding colors in hopes of attracting a mate. Males of various darter species, like the speckled darter and candy darter, display vibrant colors and markings. Similar to most bird species, it is the male fish that is more striking. He uses these colors along with flashy fins to woo a female, and intimidate his competition.