The encyclopedia article is about the snail darter, a small, stout fish averagely 9 cm in length. This rare fish, whose scientific name is Percina tanasi, was discovered in 1973 in the Tennessee River where the Tellico Dam was to be constructed (Encyclopedia.com, 2000). In 1975, the snail darter was included in the Endangered Species List and the construction of the dam was consequently stopped. However, three years later, the snail darter was declared non-endangered by Congress, and the Tellico dam was constructed. Nonetheless, this species was re-classified as threatened in 1984. The article talks about the physical characteristics, behavior, habitat, distribution, and conservation and recovery strategies for the endangered species.
The snail darter belongs to the Percidae (Perch) family. It is brown in color with faint traces of green on its upper side and white on its bottom side (Encyclopedia.com, 2000). This species generally has a life span of five to six years. Snail darters lay their eggs in the shallowest areas of rivers between January and March. The eggs drift freely for 15 to 20 days prior to hatching. It takes 15 to 30 days for the juveniles to be transformed into adults. Snail daters feed on aquatic snails, insects and fish eggs.
For feeding, the snail darter requires clean, sandy shoals. For spawning, this species requires water that is shallow and slow moving. Eggs and larvae can only survive in slack water areas (Encyclopedia.com, 2000). Large, undisturbed rivers provide the most conducive environment for spawning. The snail darter is endangered because its original habitat was destroyed as a result of constructions on the drainage system of the Tennessee River. The unfavorable condition of the river was further aggravated by siltation, dredging, channelization as well as pollution from urban and industrial waste. The habitat of the snail darter was eventually destroyed by mining activities and deforestation which increased the river’s turbulence.
Encyclopedia.com. (2000). Snail Darter. Retrieved September 27, 2013, from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/article-1G2-3400600355/snail-darter.html