The Southern tessellated darter is a small brown fish that can reach lengths of four
inches (10.2 centimeters). Both sexes have 9-11 dark “X” or “Y” shaped marks on their side.
Breeding males have a larger second dorsal fin than females (Florida Natural Areas Inventory 2001).
The small geographic range and specific habitat occupied by this species in Florida suggests that it
may be vulnerable to human sources of pollution and habitat alteration. Specifically, non-point source
input (ex. pollution from runoff) of fine sediment into the Ocklawaha watershed in north-central Florida
could adversely affect tessellated darters by smothering available spawning habitat or suffocating existing
nests. Hybridization (combining varieties of species from one genus) could be a threat if other darter species
are introduced. Other threats include the construction of impoundments (ex. water reservoirs) along coastal
stream habitats as this can cause water quality alterations and habitat fragmentation.